After “The Road from Versailles to Saint Germaine,” by Alfred Sisley 1872 by Jack Christian


My name, if needed, is hillrise shadow.
My shrub the shrub of company. Our seat

a divot paint made. Our town a mirage,
some place we arrive but don’t see, then see it

shrub away. Imagined shawl your name,
dabbed from outtakes of sky. Your chest a cloud.

Your errand roundabout, a tick between white and sky.
The buggy air-hitched, idling amongst the trees.

We kept being correct by being lackadaisical.
We knew we could only outsmart the field

through idleness, implode the town by wandering.
The clouds we made cottony, and therefore true.

But the trees concerned us, until you saw the blue
in trees, the brown in green, our technique

imperfected, spilling trunks, spreading green.
And being lost, being bored, we kept falling

for pigments we had named. This was our holiday
spent sobbing when happy. What good’s a trail

that’s coiled, or love a slope away? you said.
It’s ok, it’s ok. I said it over and over.

A million years have passed and the crying
doesn’t stop. This is the pretense

of everything. How we ran together sitting still,
became only ticks of habit. What’s unfinished

doesn’t matter, we said. The leaves have got everything.


Jack Christian is the author of the poetry collections Family System, which received the 2012 Colorado Prize, and Domestic Yoga, published in 2016 by Groundhog Poetry Press.