Poems from The Full Dress

"You Find You Can Leave It All" first appeared in Conscious and Verbal (see Bibliography). "Urban Landscape No. 2" is by Richard Estes, 1979.

Other Poems from The Full Dress

Richard Estes: Urban Landscape No. 2


You Find You Can Leave It All

Like a charging man, hit
and settling face down in the ringing,
his cause and panic obsolete,

you find you can leave it all:
your loved people, pain, achievement
dwindling upstream of this raft-fall,

back with the dishes that translated
beasts and croplands into the ongoing
self portrait your genes had mandated.

Ribbed fluorescent panels flow
over you down urgent corridors,
dismissing midday outside. Slow,

they'd resemble wet spade-widths in a pit:
you've left grief behind you, for others.
Your funeral: who'll know you'd re-planned it?

God, at the end of prose,
somehow be our poem—
When forebrainy consciousness goes

wordless selves it'd barely met
inertias of rhythm, the life habit
continue the battle for you.

If enough of those hold
you may wake up in this world,
ache-boned, tear-sponged, dripped into:

Do you know your name? 'Yes' won't do.
It's Before again, with shadow. No tunnels.
You are a trunk of prickling cells.

It's the evening of some day. But it's also
afterlife from here on, by that consent
you found in you, to going where you went.


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