Free Astray

  —shipping industry jargon for lost freight

by Len Krisak (December 2013)



Atop dark straits of squawking treads worn down

In dimness, six souls out of Hawthorne sat,

Light rarely shafting motes with dull relief.

Occluded clerks, against walls painted brown,

Leaned back, or stamped a bill, or paused to chat

At times, time’s bureaucrats without a brief.

That one who shipped the country’s boxcar freight,

Running his life off rails, should raise a son

Professing verse, seems nothing now—a tale

Tolled every day, and cheap at any rate.

But—pardon me; I’ve seen what I have done—

To end where one’s begun: is that to fail?

There on a screen, I move from place to place

Those goods that someday I may have to trace.



Len Krisak has published in The London Magazine, The Oxonian Review, PN Review, Standpoint, Agni, The Antioch Review, The Sewanee Review, The Hudson Review, The Dark Horse, Agenda, The Hopkins Review, Commonweal, Literary Imagination, The Oxford Book of Poems on Classical Mythology, and others. His latest book is Virgil’s Eclogues, University of Pennsylvania Press, 2010. Forthcoming: The Carmina of Catullus, Carcanet Press, 2015, Afterimage, Measure Press, 2014, Rilke: New Poems, Boydell & Brewer, 2015 and Ovid: The Amores and The Ars Amatoria, University of Pennsylvania Press, 2014



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