THE BUS STOP PARK
Of all the crazy things I’ve seen along
the path that hacks the corner off the bus
stop park, a plot of die-hard ivy beneath
a gingko tree where bits of colored glass
shimmer like jewels the forty thieves have dropped,
this one takes the cake. Trust me; I’ve seen
some crazy things over my years of riding
the 42: the half plucked chickens’ heads
mounted on sticks and stuck into the ivy,
all in a row behind a cardboard rooster;
the pair of black stiletto heels nailed to
the gingko tree beneath a painted heart
dripping down the bark. And now this, an hour
after dawn on a late autumn Monday,
the path a muddy puddle from an all-
night rain, not another soul at the stop,
a soul to back me up: still as a stump
when I round the corner, a great blue heron.
On the oval, silver box’s serpentine front
and sides, one continuous wave rendered
in metal with the same precision Dutch
masters summoned in paint falls back upon
itself; a square-rigged ship sails a tossing
Dutch sea on the inset ivory top.
A purple silk interior holds silver
scissors, thimbles, hooks, a needle case.
A pretty thing, though useless. Vain really.
I wonder why I’m dead intent on adding
this to my modest box collection. I
cannot say what attracts me so to it.
The ship? The needle case? The ivory clasp?
Did some sea sprite spy in me a mate,
a dreamer who, voyages still before me,
will sail far coasts in sterling moonlight, loot
ivory treasure from a hold, and hear
the clash of swords each time I darn my socks?