Day Before Thanksgiving, 2002

by Eric Chaet

Day before Thanksgiving, 2002
aged 57:
Sun came out & the river was at the same time
metallic & full of movement—scales—
not like musical scales, more like fish scales—
come to think of it, a lot like musical scales
major, minor, 3rds, 5ths, chords, trills, octaves
not quite silver or gold
some alloy of walleye & carp, I suppose—
& the trees had conveniently ditched their leaves
for clarity of the vision.

So late in life, I finally figure out
what the Dutch Republic was & when
& how it related to Spain & the Holy Roman Empire
Moors & Caliphs
Venice, Genoa, Florence
the Crusades & Columbus
Rumi & Maimonides
Pizarro, Cortez, Aztecs, Incas
Descartes & Cervantes
expulsion of the Muslims & Jews
Amsterdam’s pickled herring
the Baltic timber & grain trade
Bruegel, Spinoza, Rembrandt, & Locke
& the Reformation, &, of course
the English Revolution, & the American
& the French—& the Ottoman Empire
& the Russian Revolution, & the various
counter-revolutions & reprisals blatant or sly
& results of conflicting power assertions, & resistance:
no one gets everything as they’d wish.

By which time, distinct flakes of snow
stream horizontally, from across the river
from the big dark cloud of dirty wool
(they imported rough English woolen cloth
into Flanders & Holland
finished, dyed, & sold it
especially to the French)
that had gathered itself along the western horizon
behind the toy-like silo & the freight cars rattling south
like there’s no engine, caboose, or tomorrow—

& Sarah called laughing to report that she had just learned
never to shop for groceries the day before Thanksgiving:
the place was packed & the people all crabby.


Also posted online @ Poetry Dispatch and other Notes from the Underground (USA).


world headquarters series

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: