Solitude, by Mike Dillon
Along a country road he stopped to paint it, where the road runs
through tall grass, yellowed by late summer, toward a cod-belly sky
flushed with marine light.
The road is empty as our short journey between crib and coffin.
The neon shadow of American loneliness reaches even here. And it’s
1944. There’s a war on, though far away. Though far away, there’s a
On the right, a steep roofed, no-nonsense white cottage lacks any sign
of life. Three gaunt evergreens stand between the cottage and the
road. A fourth stands apart from the rest. The tall grass is
undisturbed around the cottage.
There are countless places we hurry past which catch our attention for
a breath-span. And then the scene is gone forever. But it was here
someone said: This is the place. And built a white cottage.
Was it a man alone or with a family? Why did he or they move away --
too much solitude or did the tide of war take him?
Would we have the inner resources to hold out here? We can’t answer.
We don’t have to. We’re mere voyeurs playing the what-if game,
flicking our cape at a bull with no horn.
We who are always passing by on the way to elsewhere. Because we can.
Mike Dillon lives in Indianola, Washington, a small town on Puget Sound northwest of Seattle. He is the author of four books of poetry and three books of haiku. Several of his haiku were included in Haiku in English: The First Hundred Years, from W.W. Norton (2013). Departures, a book of poetry and prose about the forced removal of Bainbridge Island’s Japanese Americans after Pearl Harbor will be published by Unsolicited Press in April 2019.
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