J. Allyn Rosser

Polaris Mall
September 6, 2013 Rosser J. Allyn

Polaris Mall


February,  9:37 p.m.  Two Canada geese,

clearly a couple, though fifteen feet apart.

They are both healthy, bellies round,

heads alert on walking-stick necks

as they clack uncertainly back and forth

and venture down the middle of the road

that bisects two chunks of Ohio mall.

They have no interest in crossing it:

no grassy medians here, no pond,

no fountain.  They ignore my honks,

so I back into the lot and park

to watch their halting, dreamlike search.

They amble to the right, then retrace

to where moon is as strong as streetlight.

They shimmer.  Look this way and that.

We are not where we are.

They step and turn and step again,

hew to the middle, having settled

for the road itself, or some spot on it

they both can half-remember.

The mall’s been here ten years.

What is a year?  What’s that?

One clacks, the other tilts his head

her way before clacking in return.

Can’t they smell water, fly to it?

Bed Bath and Beyond blinks dead ahead,

while behind me a big bookstore is closing,

holding its final sale, serving coffee

to laptopping college students.  Their elders

still wander absently down the aisles,

slowly turning, stopping to lift a volume,

caressing a flyleaf, nudging each other

to look at this, remember this?  Then nodding.

J. Allyn Rosser’s fourth poetry collection, Mimi’s Trapeze, appeared in 2014 from the University of Pittsburgh Press. She has received fellowships from the Lannan Foundation, the Guggenheim Foundation, the NEA, and the Ohio Arts Council. She teaches at Ohio University.