The sun peers down from above, spilling light
on the ground; the clouds hang haloed
by a fading gold. Daylight’s verve recedes as the purpling sky
spreads across the horizon. I lean back in my chair and steeple
my fingers, letting the late light lie across my chest.
This is a typical evening, and I’ve grown tired of
the shot of gin, the songs I’ve listened to over twenty times,
the books I reread, their covers worn and spine bent.
It seems a dull life, or not dull, but repetitive.
I’ve grown tired of myself, tired of my self-
obsessed writing, these lines that trace my certain minor mood.
But these poems are my lay-away plan, each publication
a hope for immortality, for a voice that evades death…
The other day I decided to drive to Cedar Grove Cemetery
to see if I was okay with being unremarkable, my life
reduced to a name etched on a slab, sealed off by two dates.
When I got there, the rows of headstones sprawled forth,
standing in the well-manicured lawn. I stepped out of my car.
The sky was overcast and a silence
was woven into the wind, the same wind that wore away
at each of these slate tablets. And the October evening
seemed to hold an ominous feeling like the feeling
of some malevolent force crawling up your spine…
I decided to walk up to one of the stone markers, which read
Linda Lynn Grey (1942-2009) and had a bouquet of dead flowers at its base.
And then all the sudden life seemed to rush back to me
like a torrent of water through a sluice, forcing my breath
back into my body, and blowing a fog from my eyes.
All that once seemed mundane began to ripple with vigor—
to the sound of the leaves rustling at the base of the tree;
the scent of autumn’s evening. Yes, this was what it meant to live.
I rushed back home hoping, if I got back soon enough,
I could permeate my place with this feeling, reenergizing
the old songs and refreshing the reread words.
But as I stepped inside, the air seemed stagnant. My apartment
seemed again to pull the liveliness from my bones. All the colors
faded away, my world returning to black and white
like an old, forgotten photograph. Now, twenty-four hours
removed from that trip, I find myself watching the moon rising:
a dull disk that returns to stare at me.
Alexander Lazarus Wolff is a student at the College of William & Mary. His work has been published or is forthcoming in The Best American Poetry website, The Citron Review, Black Fox Literary Magazine, South Florida Poetry Journal, Main Street Rag, Serotonin, and elsewhere. He is a poetry editor for The Plentitudes. You can find him and more of his work on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/wolffalex108/ on Instagram: @wolffalex108 and at www.alexanderlazaruswolff.com