Beyond the canopy of oaks the path
we walk most evenings perseveres:
the medieval church holds out in ruins,
squirrels love their perpendicular lives,
a breeze brings news of the river
on the air
and not exactly
the scrape of stonemasons at work
on the tombstone of our times
but an apprenticeship
of skateboarders chiselling
shivers of concrete from our civic spaces,
softening gently brutal edges, boys
and girls who bail nineteen times out of twenty
committed to impossible revolutions of the board
about both axes and fracturing a wrist
sometimes or an ankle past the walking off
of it and so lentissimo
paramedics cross the square.
And is it a muster of over-shirts,
a caravan of backpacks following
in the ambulance’s wake
or each alone
with gravity and the good new road
tarmacadamed smooth as time
downhill sooner than home and quick?
however the good news is of the coffee bar
which not unlike everything is coming soon.
STEPHEN SEXTON’s first book If All the World and Love Were Young received the Forward Prize for Best First Collection in 2019 and the 2020 recipient of the E.M. Forster Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.