David Rivard

Otherwise Elsewhere

Somewhere over there the lawyer with a yellowish leaf in his hair;

somewhere out  of sight a swallow soaring away from our dog-nose weather;

elsewhere the stable-hand for an equestrian team; elsewhere

the bodhisattva stretching by the river or the sleepwalking knife-thrower,

the dubious bridegroom or the cosmetic dentist or the smiling steamfitter;

otherwise the town TB doctor, a whoreson of the adamantine

as he comes by law, a doctor come to a cold apartment

for an old man’s cough; otherwise the contented singer of karaoke,

or the anti-semite & his pyramid scheme; otherwise, in a soaking tub, a tenured

gnostic or a tan Micawber; otherwise Joey Gallo in Umberto’s clam bar;

or in Berlin, at the Atelier Jacobi, Lotte Jacobi; elsewhere

the Secretary of Defense, & the wolfhound sent down to retire

him, a conductor of souls; elsewhere the young girl who’ll swim the length

of a warm pond (because her guardian naps), or a policeman eating

beer-battered shrimp; somewhere else what used to be called an industrialist;

and a nun about to go over the wall; & a judge sowing an apple seed;

elsewise, at an auction dock, a bayman unloading the white & gray

bushel-baskets of littlenecks & cherrystones, or the Irish wholesaler

with his herring & whitebait, glistening grey & pink eels on chipped ice,

the sawdust under his feet wet with blood; elsewhere a clerk

at a lighting outlet; otherwise someone steered by brighter devices;

someone trimming his sideburns; a settler; a currency trader; a choral director;

elsewise the rooster who stunned Ophelia, a rooster with patten-leather

boots, shoes like clement black candles; otherwise Ophelia; or the Moroccan boy

and his breakfast of hardboiled eggs, aboard the bus from Tetuan to Fez

a Berber who wiped his mouth on his sleeve; or a dumbfounded skeptic

or a vixen or a lotus-eater or a grandmother or an unbaptized doorman—

all those other lives & destinations that might have been mine, but weren’t—

because there are two kinds of distance between us—towards, & away.


David Rivard

 David  Rivard David Rivard's books include Sugartown (Graywolf, 2006), Bewitched Playground (Graywolf, 2000), Wise Poison (Graywolf, 1996), and Torque (Pitt, 1988). In Fall 2008 he will begin teaching in the MFA program at the University of New Hampshire.

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