Self portrait

A man stands by a roadside,
the sky the shape of an onion,
one layer of cloud after another,
the point of coincidence
with the earth
too pale to define, and
the very idea of definition
is hazy, suspect.

The road … is there,
that’s all that can be said of it
with any assurance.
It is neither appealing
nor repulsive, there are no signs
telling of its ends
in either direction, there is little
to recommend it.

This man can be anyone — you,
your father, someone you knew
long ago but have forgotten,
a pope, a salesman, an original
thinker, a fraud, maybe
all of those at once.

What distinguishes him
is this time, this place,
the relentless now
and the slowly setting sun.

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