Burgess Needle, three poems


One day in July, the 7th day of the year

walking with Timothy whose name has seven letters,

along with the woman who lives in a house where

the pavement ends, passing

the home of the road commissioner’s daughter,

where the road has no ruts and all roadside

vegetation is neatly trimmed,

We held hands and did not wave

when the driver of a passing car, somehow related

to a man who’d shot her dog, went by

and over the bridge

above the clear water we ambled

even though my right knee ached

and the woman admitted she could

no longer run –

Then again, who to run from, I wondered.

Abruptly, we stood before a steel forged pipe protruding

from a hill side and, since this was not Paris,

there was no gargoyle’s mouth at the end from which

rich and potable water burst forth

into a welded metal box labeled


As in my name having seven letters and Lincoln,

our road’s name, also having seven letters,

and that speech so long ago where the 16th

president referred to 4 score and 7 years ago --

oh, Lord!

We are all so lucky, certainly luckier

than the inhabitants of Jericho whose walls fell

after 7 priests with 7 trumpets

circled the city 7 times,

Lucky to have found each other again

even though it took more than the 7 days