Lynne Potts

Living Outside

I live outside the dream the other side

of a foot-thick stone wall

Rueben Harris said he owned but didn’t.

It’s like towns: some people draw maps,

some lie about them, some cling to edges and wish.

If the buildings had not happened,

would America have stayed simple?

Some say the cities are fake; others fault

five-cabin motels; still others complain

city drains don’t work,

and wander long corridors.

America is cellophane at the peak of the party.

The world did not believe it for a long time;

still today, many say it’s a flicker on a theater screen,

the slick motor of a speedboat on a fictitious lake.

I say I stay outside its dream but that’s not true.

You can’t live without it. It fills your bones

like water in a bottom of a Vermont cistern

you planned to make a real well and never did.