December 30, 2020

David Mason

LONG HAUL

In airports everywhere I see
people I think I know.
Someone I used to be married to,
someone who’s dead now.

That one I wrote about,
and blush at what I said.
That one I met at a conference—
no, he too is dead.

I had a friend who looked like that
when we were twenty.
If I spoke to him I’m sure
he’d tell me plenty.

Another looks at me as if
I’m a familiar ghost
then turns away, discarding me
among the rest.

And when we fly, the earth below
and all identities
are cloud or glimpses of the sea
or blazing cities

in the dark, our wing a blinking eye
until the clock unwinds
the dream, until the dream unbinds
all that is passing by.

from Rattle #69, Fall 2020

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David Mason: “Momentous events occasioned these poems. I am retiring from teaching after 30 years, and I am immigrating to Australia, specifically my wife’s home island, Tasmania. The journeys involved are retrospective, involved with summing up and moving on. In both of these poems, identity dissolves, as if change itself were rubbing away old delusions. Or so it seems.”

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