Andrew Michael Roberts

i admit that
in less confident hours
i have filled my home

with life-sized
color copies
of myself

making fourth place
in the 1986 high school

district cross-country meet,

which is close to
the podium,

which is something like
being unconditionally


and i also admit that
but unthwarted

i have wandered
out past the city

where at night
it is so quiet

one may lie down
in the road

flanked by
ticking silos

and listen to
the blackened hills

go blacker
against the mute

milky blue
of infinity,


out where the river
smells of sunscreen
and marigolds

without self-consciousness,

and one may
wade nude among
the judgeless water beings

who do not believe
in kinkos and so
must believe in


while i float
between their atmosphere
and mine,

tracking a satellite
across a thousand miles

until i lose it
for good

under an eyelid,


and i awaken
three miles downstream

face up to
the belly of
a fighter jet

which is
for an instant

perfectly outlined
against the belly

of the moon.


an oncoming train

in the distance

sounds like caribou

slowly swarming
a tundra,

which a trio
of wolves

looks casually over
from a far massif.


and i am sorry,
i say, in
my mind,

to the caribou
who wander

according to
the whim
of the lichens,

and to the sturgeon
wedged below me
in the river silt

who sees
my shadow and
is assured of his faith

in the harmlessness
of boats.


now the train
comes paralleling us,

laying its life-
sized color copy

onto the black
river glass.

and i am

in its temporary light.


in its belly:
a few passengers,

almost home,
feeling missed,

smiling wearily

into their glowing
phone screens.