<eawp toc>

cape hatteras

Ruth Lepson*



--after hart crane

the years have brought me here
sitting in my expensive house
reading hart crane's cape hatteras
and if you were in bloom you'd
know a place is not a room
time ago my then
husband--the word shivers past--
and I drove to cape hatteras
we had no reservations I remember
we found a seedy cabin moist
so filled with mildew we had to move
to some place else next to a diner
where have we come I thought but
next morning the dew was fresh
and into the sands we drove till
we came to a place where
light and water ruled all
the day was breakfasted my life was
freshinside my self now I'm
old yet fresh I can't
understand time or rime or self
here I sit having done nothing
in my life except what I have
done reading hart crane's cape hatteras
he managed to write until
he could no longer
these things really happened
I will never see him again
you think you have time
to comprehend to try again

now it's coming back to me--
I fell asleep on the beach
while he fished I woke to see
the beach was moving--me
tiny crabs, thousands, had come
up from the sand to feed they
were moving sideways I eye
balled them and frightened ran
away                                 driving
back across the bridge we saw
a manatee mostly dark with
white near its whiskers turn
over in the water this really
happened another day we
took tea in the english village
I forget the name I forget
what part of the time I was
happy we drove to kathi's
parents' house no one home
and thought of her back here
now I am filling in the details
from my so-called memory
my cat is nudging me to pet him
but I'm still busy remembering--
the play shown outdoors at night
about--what part of the cape's history
there was a boat in it I think

too many things have happened
and not enough has happened
God my hand is full of wrinkles
the snow is coming shortly
I prepared but worried I wouldn't
I could tell you about each one
of my friends but I'm tired
If I could do anything I wanted
what would I do be with you
granted I take certain things
for granted but those I miss I
think I want more am I sure
pass the sugar what I'm good at
I never do why do you
metaphors for instance come
readily to me but I don't
believe in them I believe in
creeley existentialism wish
I could write like oppen stones



*2010 WOOD COIN: On Education in ‘America’ as We Plunge Issue: Lepson, “cape hatteras”