I drive to prison
where the tallest man in class speaks of children
who trip and stand up unhurt and do not cry
until they see broken skin, carnelian, a trickle
shaped like a run in a stocking. He says we are
like that still, that there is a sickness a man
can catch just catching his likeness in a glass.
Down my street lives a salesman whose wife died.
Once a week he putters past on his Vespa, a grandson
braced between his knees. For months the kid
would not loose the handlebars to wave.
Sometimes beauty lets you forget yourself. I drive
to prison early. At that hour, day can hardly see
over earth's shoulder. At that hour, vapour: stoneflies
airbrushing the river's patchy complexion, brown
shapes grazing. But I meant to tell you about a place
where the road curves, and I, following, steer
toward brilliance. I know the wish is foolish. I wish
I could drive my student to this bend in the route
I take east, to the spot where a rampart of forest
absorbs the sun's first blows, where the trees cannot
swallow the shining in time. He would stretch one
long arm out the window, I think. And, no longer shy
of the car's side mirrors, he would, no less than the oaks
conquered by light, forget himself and be anointed.
Jane Zwart teaches at Calvin University, where she also co-directs the Calvin Center for Faith & Writing. Her poems have appeared in Poetry, The Southern Review, One Hand Clapping, Threepenny Review, TriQuarterly, and Ploughshares, as well as other journals and magazines.