My Afternoon With Sarah

Her name had been Sarah something,
said the red-headed cop as he picked through a tote
plucked from a ditch festive with Phlox and Anemone
and sweet Valeriana tall enough to sweep our knees.

Down the sloped bank strolled two laughing men
dressed in train authority gray that matched the gravel
bedding the tracks for miles north and south.
Every few feet they stooped and stood, stooped and stood-
red plastic flags remembered the path of their ritual.

Yards beyond a bicycle twisted into a U smiled,
spoke teeth jutted in unfamilar angles from rim sockets.
Its chrome caught the Tuesday sun and spit it back in darts
that skittered across the blue hoods of idling state cruisers
parked along an access road grown thick with the curious-

they hung in knots behind troopers whose bored stance
belied grim faces, their chitters slung as low
as the sam browne belts strung out like a black-patent fence.
Avid eyes jockeyed for chinks in a chino wall.

Books scattered between beginning and end,
chemistry, calculus, english and french-
lofty subjects lifting pages to an eastern breeze.
A volume of Frost trapped itself in Hummingbird Vines
that grew in pink perfusion around the crossing posts.

No one saw me slip it in the pocket of my turn-out coat.
No one knows that I'll come back on days
when the weather is fine, sit cross-legged on a bank
with Phlox and Anemone and sweet Valeriana
brushing my back while I read each poem out loud-

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