Wandering Compass


Just dusk. It’s always then
when the broken light comes on
again: same pickup we drove
straight through the night
that night, going over ninety
once we crossed the border. 
Comes on as if a prowler
triggered an alarm I never rigged.
One time I cut the wires
and went into the house you left.
It was untenanted. Locked.
These things for years. These
years like rooms of things
in perfect order, and there I was,
myself undressing
the bedside table of its secrets.
I touched everything. Pearls.
Pills. They were mine.
The freezer-burn I scraped up
with my nails and melted
on my tongue was mine.
There was nothing to take
and I wanted it. Just dusk.
When I left, I couldn’t tell
if it was getting lighter out
or if the night was coming on.
I turned the headlights off
and drove. Or if it was a dream,
then in the dream I dusted
knickknacks, books, a rock
you kept, compass-shaped
and markered with an arrow
on the back. In any case, 
your truck was totaled years ago,
but there it was. Empty,
cockeyed, a kind of Canis Minor
off its rails, with one eye
squinting, throwing off the night.
Or was it you who was the bright,
unbroken eye? And I was only
navigating, checking north.