Germantown

A man in a black suit stops
in front of the church as if
he wants to ask it something
Uncertainty is the foundation
of our future A starchy essence
holds the town together
Buildings face one another
Streets intersect I’ve always
been undisruptive As a child
I kicked leaves We listened
to news on the radio and ate
cereal Learning what we can
and can’t count on is fraught
with pain and error Invisible
mechanisms get me from car
to front door I’m stunned
this building hasn’t moved
fifty feet since yesterday
A rope beats on a flagpole
The wind sounds lonely
and strong in the tall pines
The road stretches calmly
in and out of town Nonstop
layering of action and behavior
baffles me Public space
isn’t public Sidewalks
aren’t for sitting Standing
beneath a tree and holding
out your hand doesn’t stop
leaves from falling Courage
building up could fizzle out
or become mute The square
can be crossed without fear
at any time of day Just up
the road is a cemetery
The piling up of thought
creates a backlog Everyone
is looking at me, even
the garbage truck drivers

copyright c Karen Schoemer 2016

Karen is the Virginia Scholar for Autumn 2016