Nearby a river almost ended
and the ocean wasn’t far
Saying out loud that pretty, polysyllabic noun, Tallahassee,
a world I slept through once comes ringing back to life.
The carking song of a mockingbird comes rolling boulders over
old doubts and dreams, through a damp and swampy inscape.
Not once but twice I blamed that town for holding back
a wild season I needed in another state. Not once but twice
I stood at the fountain and flicked a wish for cooler weather.
What birds came and went with the winter I never quite saw.
Spanish moss draped across a campus of forty-thousand,
that forty-thousand fleeing every summer, leaving a sound above town
as calm and glassy as the underside of a Gulf water wave.
With the patterned sidewalk strides of students and all the brick,
with the palm trees and oak, with all the eyeblinks in the water,
a kind of final place below most things began to form for me—
like a source, like an undercurrent, like the warm hum of heartwood
or summer stone or like the sun’s blaze across Wakulla springs.