A Sense of Proportion
By William Stobb
On 20th between Madison and Ferry
a line of municipal maples binds the community
to an orderly, serviceable beauty. Platforms
from which our sparrows and starlings
might decorate our domestic sedans,
perhaps these trees serve most to stimulate
the car wash economy. Today, they remind me:
unsatisfied with workaday species, my parents
nailed oranges to a post to attract the exotic Oriole.
When the birds arrived, I wondered if they’d flown
all the way from Baltimore, which in turn
evoked a hotel, gables lined
with black and tangerine, posh clientele
spackled by the vagaries of Maryland living.
By nine I could sigh, climb our single
red maple, which I imagined a national landmark.
Child of movies, I could see the tree even at night
as a kind of beacon, a singularity. White
sheen on the leaves’ pitchy gloss, bodily.
And I too would learn to feel glazed
as any creature accumulating light
cast from stars, hidden in a federation
of equivalent times, distant trains
carrying sugar, coal, whole families beyond
deserts, imposing ranges, shimmering coastlines
said to define the spirit of a people.
Far from the station, the pinpoint aurora,
a line of municipal maples bears its charge.
I spent most of Wednesday out with Paul, Adam, and Adam's friend Daniel Wigle, whom we took with us to pick up Adam in College Park, then brought them both to Minerva in Gaithersburg for the Indian buffet where we all ate a great deal. We stopped at Target to get Adam a calculator, since he's allowed to use a basic one during exams for arithmetic but not a graphing calculator or a phone program, and, since we had a bit of time, some of us tried on Halloween costumes. Then we took Adam to get his pins out and his cast off, and there was much rejoicing after a bit of wincing over the pins! And then he went back to school to play volleyball!
We spent the evening watching the season finales of Penguins: Spy in the Huddle and Legends, both of which were enjoyable (I hope the latter comes back next season -- I'm worried), but my major entertainment news involved staying up way too late the night before to watch Oscar and Lucinda, which I had never seen and could not understand how with such a cast it had such low ratings on both IMDb and Rotten Tomatoes. I continued to be confused for the first two hours, during which it was a quirky but entertaining movie. Then came the murder and rape and attempted genocide and wrath of God, and I only wish I was kidding! I should have gone to bed!