Haste, published February 2020 in Roanoke Review. HASTE Philip Newton You can no longer get there and if you did you wouldn’t know it When you arrived it would only be a day or a night, in a city like the others, netted harboring habits, drug stores full of statues, pallid food hushed and forlorn glances And when you left this place there would be only an empty spot where another empty spot had been A place for shoes A drunken recollection Something always left behind Like a cat, a needle or that one red thing you can’t quite recall except that it was in fact quite red

This transience: experience, place, unreliable memory. Consciousness as an accretion of sensations is malleable, and with a certain view (say, from the poem) what is transient can become transcendent. Plain red; shoes left forgotten; dull meals; a city. Everything builds, speaks and grows its own life into yours, supplanting you eventually, even as you become part of it.