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Carol Moldaw

So Late, So Soon

Don’t assume the car
ahead is headed where
you want to go. Don’t

mindlessly follow it.
Pass the farmstand,
graveyard, kennel;

the low-to-the-ground
stone-carved clover,
your marker. Take

a sharp left. Where
light scrolls a sycamore,
incising its bark and

leaves, pull over, let
yourself be bedazzled
until the light scoots.

You’ll see a dirt road
with no hedge. Turn
right and keep going

East, toward the spit
wherein you think
your destination lies.

Go farther than you
imagined, until the road
straightens, narrows.

If you find yourself
in a mounting reverie
regarding the eloquent

slope of his shoulder,
the sweetly sustained
ardor of his inquiry,

the way he heaps bliss
upon you, then spoons
you to sleep—again,

pull over. Compose
yourself by scribbling
a note to be e-mailed

later. And if, by now,
tired of admiring day
lilies, buttercups,

you just want to be there,
check for speed traps
before accelerating.

Soon, on your right,
you’ll come to cow
pasture, rolling field,

silo, barns, stacked
hay, and then a sudden
shadow—the woods:

always the woods before
your arrival; a clearing;
the unanticipated bay.