Gerald Stern

Slash of Red

It was another one of his petite visions
And he had one every day now—at Optiques,
at Gold and Silver-and he ended up,
for it was hard work, sitting against a wall;
and when he looked at the yard he knew the dimensions
were ancient, "holy" he called them, and made comparisons
to African and Turkish rectangles,
only his yard was bare, there were two trees,
and a brick walk going from the gate to the steps.
He said it was Zen-like, only he meant he resisted
the fountaineers and their computer drawings;
it was a straight line, there wasn't a curve
in the middle, there wasn't a jog at the end,
considering that he never used a string,
and he was proud that he had only a trowel
and a little sand to place the bricks. He counted
320, some broken, some not,
and thought about it as a slash of red
against a background of green. This is how
he started the 21st century. More charitable now.

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