Tourism

This poem previously appeared in The New Yorker.

I think I think of what I want en masse,

as concrete thinks it wants the overpass—

while wind and broken glass want heavy rains,

Los Angeles I want across the plains.

I hear myself collecting what I’ve caught,

like “in the hospital and you’ve been shot.”

As time so clearly in the precinct falls,

with phone calls mounting crisis on the walls,

police are humming parts of prime-time hooks:

I want their fade-out lines and distant looks.

I want this pickup idling for a beat,

then turning, backing quickly up the street.

I want the time it takes the sound to reach

across from where the tires this moment screech.

I think I often, eyes half-closed, will veer;

I want inside the truck or walking near.

I want the pillow I passed absently,

not wind holding a bag against a tree.

I think I’m in a transformation mood.

I’m going to the diner for some food.

I asked for coffee, but it’s not been brought.

I think I’ve seen this menu quite a lot.

As children love to turn in spinning doors,

I keep rerunning these Formica floors,

though each time through I see there less to take.

I want the leaves from neighbors’ trees to rake.

The grass across the street is overgrown.

This was a scene for several years I’d known.

Something I saw there right before it burst.

It’s darker later than it was at first.

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