The Lost Country

Fall 2014 • Vol. 3, No. 1

issn 2326-5310 (online)


By Sally Thomas

This work was published in the Fall 2014 issue of The Lost Country. You may purchase a copy of this issue from us or, if you prefer, from Amazon.

The evening lengthens into dreamy sadness.
Across the street in soft rain a man is

Bending, windmilling, stretching his hamstrings, thinking
Himself unobserved. My dog’s on the watch,

However, glowering through the screen
As the man finishes stretching and moves off

Slowly, not quite running yet. Yes, off
You go, trudging stranger, lugging your sadness

Like ankle weights. Meanwhile, one mockingbird is
Tragedy enough for me. What is he thinking

There on the iron fence, flipping his tail like a watch
Hand that points everywhere? On the screen

Porch the dog lies down. The fine-mesh screen,
Like a veil, lets rain-light in, keeps mosquitoes off.

It makes home movies of other people’s sadness–
Real, imagined, hidden or not, whatever it is

They carry past my house at twilight. Thinking,
Deep inside themselves, they don’t notice that I watch

And wonder at them. Look, this girl with a sports watch
Stars in her own brief stop-action film. Then the screen

Goes blank. The extras have all stepped off-
Stage momentarily. Crape myrtles droop with a sadness

That’s not human after all, but merely is,
A function of the universe’s thinking.

I know what you’re going to say: What thinking?
Perhaps the low-slung gray-green sky doesn’t watch

Us after all. Perhaps it’s nothing but a screen
For the town’s lights at night to bounce off,

Pink as cotton candy, no joy or sadness.
You might tell me, Remember that the moon is

Not a light–we only say it is
Because we like the word. Just now I’m thinking

I’d welcome moonlight’s blue glow, like a watch
Face: Look at the time! Nose to the screen,

The dog moans in his throat. So much remains off-
Limits to him. Is the whole world made of sadness?

As the rain picks up, he and I watch through the screen.
Here again is the runner, all smiles, possibly thinking

He’s outrun his life; he’s peeled off, like a t-shirt, every sadness.