The Poetry Project

I took a picture of Liberty

Olivia Schwob

I walked west on the last day possible, drawing
the aimless mass of time behind me like wire through

evacuated intersections, past oil drifting
on the reticent canal, until the rotted piles

gave way to municipal waterfront, aluminum
and stones, and there at last she was,

puny in the distance, crowded by the cranes, the Jersey port
I don’t know what it was I was expecting

Sure, that crisis sentimentalism:
xxxxxwho knows when we’ll see each other again

Sure, some part of me would jump
at any opportunity for longing:
xxxxxto be held apart is a kind of embrace

I’d bought a mini-key-lime pie along the way and ate it there
without desire, casting eyes towards the further shore. Around me,

old men fished, not as a metaphor but rather as a habit,
the mild channel giving nothing up. Like water

pooling on a table’s edge, I felt myself flowing
into myself, filling and expanding in myself, but fixing

on the limit. The more I take the more I can take
the less necessary the next of anything

Unlabored tides went in and out. Elsewhere
waves of sirens swelled but wouldn’t break

The pie was gone and then I didn’t know where
to put my sticky hands besides my pockets

Though nothing had been caught, in time
I turned around my feet and wavered east

Work from “To hear all the sky and the map”: Lines of Mapping