Four Red Wheelbarrows


After Billy Collins

I would have filled mine with baklava,
its red sides like a card house of Russian novels,
the brown handles, bones from Pompeii.
This one is slick with the light, empty
like a new tomb among the pigeons
pecking at its black rubber wheel.

After W. S. Merwin

My viewfinder held
steady in the August heat
upon the red conveyance more
than once in the dirt
understood to be something
my daughter splashed
with a watering can not knowing
another language in which to express
the way we forget
each other in the country
after throwing grain
to the waiting ground.

After Jorie Graham

Squeak. Squeak.
The sound of history,
oak leaves gathering at the bottom
on my way to bringing you
to you, the names of children
___ and ___ collecting
like the curling tongues of angels,
the single-wheeled racket,
the candy from piņatas, the cobbled
insistence, wet
and ready, why
did it cross this road?
(shall we name the reasons?)
Something moves in the air.


After John Ashbery

The Rhone flows from the Alps to its mouth, the latter a shout
of cabaret girls, the former -- well, the former, the precedent, a babble
of ice for a thousand barges, the way they write piano songs standing up,
the whole world on the back of a turtle, but without the wheels and chased
through streets filled with thrown tomatoes which never get the rain
they deserve anyway - that's God on a month-end budget again, use it
or lose it, down it comes but who'd have guessed the feathers? The strut
of the old ladies with their wrinkled skin? The squawking?