One must turn thoughts
to the displacement of a voyage,
cultivate the mind to under-
take travel’s long discomfort
and insecurity such as tripping down stairs
as you look up, and adapt the parlance
of malediction and misunderstanding
for the rare day that all goes well
to consider the Way of the Wayfarer.
As you step onto an overlook,
touch the cold rust of guard rail,
and lift eyes to the migration
of whales spouting in a distant iron-gray sea,
you find Luck’s on the road with you
this March, the sheer pluck of choosing
to tarry where others find bone-chilling wind.
When asked, Were you born happy?
you say, No, I was not.
Rather and persistently melancholic.
Yet the treasure of your get-up-and-go,
your grit in the not-giving-up, always
tempers the story you tell for a lark,
maybe to be a bit magical, who knows?—
the one with fairies at the bottom of the garden
in the song that broke you
up every time it’s so silly—
that you could never finish.
Cynthia Hogue has published seven collections of poetry, most recently, The Incognito Body (2006) and Or Consequence (2010), both from Red Hen Press, and When the Water Came: Evacuees of Hurricane Katrina, interview-poems and photographs (2010, with Rebecca Ross), from University of New Orleans Press. With Sylvain Gallais, she has translated Fortino Sámano (the overflowing of the poem), by Virginie Lalucq and Jean-Luc Nancy (Omnidawn 2012). In 2003, she joined the Department of English at ASU as the Maxine and Jonathan Marshall Chair in Modern and Contemporary Poetry.