Christopher Kondrich

Looking Down

Looking down the road I can’t remember the road
I can’t remember, it says. It says it and intones it in lettering, 
a letter below the cataract of the eye squirming through the gray pavement

that brings it back over gray pavement I can’t remember the road
its face falling and re-falling in the stripes of wind and leaves, 
first wind, having a mind, then leaves, having a mouth to utter, 

to shudder in blustery thought. It, the crossed-out, the re-typed, 
holds everything over me, hangs me on a thread over the opened ground
tempting though it is to touch the fire burning there distant 

and near in its fate. It sleeps in its blank bed of rumored curls,
its gray pavement remembering me. I make it out against the stark, 
unmoving canvas of trees frozen in the window, my only roar. 

I look down the road I can’t and it looks back, its oracular powers
unabated, loosening me from the hole in the road I live in. It starts moving 
and moves in a half-shadow, half-broken off the page looking up.

Christopher Kondrich is the author of Contrapuntal (Parlor Press, 2013) and a recipient of The Paris-American Reading Series Prize. New poems appear or are forthcoming in American Letters & Commentary, Boston Review, Colorado Review, cream city review, Guernica, Gulf Coast, The Paris-American, Sixth Finch, 32 Poems and Washington Square. He is a PhD candidate at the University of Denver and an editor for Denver Quarterly.