John Latta, p.2


This has to do with sitting where I sit most days
Gazing out. I am not exactly waiting, though I am
Attentive to the liminal drifting vociferousness

Of hesitance and all its furtive charms--
that's how I like to put it.
I become aware of a low barely perceptible hum,

Like an artillery barrage, as if a TV set
Tuned to a documentary about Dien Bien Phu
Were lodged in a giant bale of cotton

Suspended by cable and crane over the hold
Of a freighter, stopped mid-
Air by off-

Loading lonshoremen stopped for a lunch break.
They untwist thermos caps, unwrap thick sandwhiches, talk
Ordinary sports and unionization, oblivious

To the sniping and ricochet and moan of
A battle muffled by batting.
What is present is not the war itself.

Canned and adulterated, its humanizing solace is this one
of sheer receptivity, like that day
Hiking the blue Virginia ridges, blue

And quelled by the interstellar world,
That day when the metal in my teeth began to broadcast
Human voices,

A press conference slicing the air-
Waves all the way out of Topeka.
That was years ago, and the voices--you swore one was Dean Rusk,

One Jimmy Hoffa.
A towheaded boy goes by the same window now,
Bat on shoulder, mitt

Hanging like a small glazed ham off a belt.
He's got an air of nothing diong,
And doing nothing is plenty enough for you.