May 012010


Sally Allen McNall

The prairie grass is green. June here is lilac season, and lilacs fill two vases,

so the house is full of perfume, which Whitman spoke against.


“Walt, I’m alone for the moment. I have some questions.  Do you know

that it is no longer safe to allow the sea to lick your naked body

all over with its tongues? That it is not clean forever and forever?

What do you make of that? Don’t give me five iambs of death for an answer.”


He looks away, silent, like a man non-plussed, but there’s that willingness

of his, and he turns back to say, “What beautiful lilacs you have.” 


We talk for a while about Lincoln, soldiers, Obama, anxious love, New York,

and the San Francisco Ferry, which I recommend he ride on. He leaves the door open,

but undamaged, when he goes