They are dismantling the tents in the dusk.
The steel poleframes clanging as they fall
to the ground. We are still sitting on the tarmac
under a few leaves yellowing in the September sun
a folk artist singing, “This land is my land”
and then, “Where have all the flowers gone—gone
for graveyards everyone.” You are not supposed
to cry for strangers, young men who have come back
from the desert draped in red white and blue,
but you do, quietly. The girl with the leashed gray-black
cat—looking, like you, for a pickup—dancing (is she
drunk?) like the Odissi and Kuchipudi dancers
we just saw, accompanied by the Indian flautist (a doctor),
the Indian veena player (another doctor), the mridangam player
a scientist. For thirty minutes we are artists giving India
to the world for free—and again at MIT in two months.
It is all we have left. You have misnamed our numbers
calling them Arabic Numerals;
the windows operating
system, not Bill Gates, an Indian scientist developed.
You have taken our yoga, renaming it in the New York
Times today, Christian
Yoga and now Jewish Yoga
right here in Boston
we must ask The Master, Iyenger,
what else can we give you Brookline?
What else can we give you World?
Russet on a fleece blanket in a pioneer village
not quite north of Toronto.
Brown on a woolen jersey,
on a frayed bedstead on the thighs of Mount Tremblant
earth-orange. The undersides of the last holdouts
are the marks of beard-pummeled cheeks in a southern
heat will tell our friends tomorrow—or tonight—
why did you not give a little cry, my love, or
raise my chin away with your whisper-finger touch?
Girl in a blue-striped dress
on an unpaved road: tiny stones
protruding from the gravel
at your brown-shoed feet.
Girl turning against the wind
holding hair in place
the hem of a dress in a breeze
going across the canal—we almost
drowned there—twenty years
or twenty thousand, girl in a blue
striped photograph, left behind, lost.
Lemon-green buds cover the tarmac.
Young maple leaves laugh
in the wind. This is not the way
to say goodbye; not in the pub
by a cold river, or a coffeehouse
cozy and comforted by a dozen ears
listening for tomorrow. Do not look back
to this piped time; the one who talked
too much, the one whose ears went out
to space, whose hair fell like a flaxen
been there, I know
it all, Manhattan’s
the world… Or
another head framed by the Charles,
Concord grape eyes; we didn’t make
that reading. Pretend, at least, we’re friends
happy for each other; we will
keep in touch, some separately; we will
become famous; I know no irony—I do
not know “American,” or own a dictionary,
in Georgetown English—eh!—South
we cuss you to your face. We take everything
personally—even blossoms falling
on your hair. How flows the Demerara,
dear brother, still out to the Atlantic?
Do not say goodbye, until we’re gone.