Oyster Boy Review 11  
  April 1999
» Cover

» Poetry
» Essays
» Reviews
» Contributors

» Oyster Boy Review
» Levee 67


Stopping for Directions

Tony Tost

Late afternoon.
The soldier wakes up
On the side of the road.
His feet are inches from the blacktop.

His coat is still damp
From a night of long rain.
His hands are warm in the pockets.

The soldier knows he's in Washington.
Look at the clouds.
He's somewhere near the ocean.

                              (directions for the reader)
                              remember a table in a meadow
                              hand-carved legs
                              chipped, turning yellow
                              think of Ahab's

                              remember the beer can rings
                              the three initials carved out
                              think about the leaves
                              growing from the table
                              from the cigarette burns

                              don't forget:
                              there are robins
                              fat and anxious
                              singing behind
                              the table's blossoms

The soldier's knees shake a little.
He stands and wipes gravel
From his beard.

In front of him is a road
Curving to the left,
Behind him is the forest.

                              (questions for the reader)
                              from which has he
                              narrowly escaped?
                              to which is he escaping?

                              what are we to make of the fox
                              trotting towards him?

                              what about the fork
                              clenched between its small teeth?