Bob Sykora is an MFA candidate at UMass Boston and the Editor-in-Chief for Breakwater Review. His chapbook I Was Talking About Love — You Are Talking About Geography was a winner of the 2016 Nostrovia! Press chapbook contest.

Bob Sykora

Visiting Utopia #4

Walden Pond. Concord, MA. 2016. Walden is mostly bugs and sweat in August, flies finding crevices I'd forgotten existed. Maybe they like the way I sweat. Maybe this trail ends on a new row of condos. No — another set of railroad tracks, their endlessness beckoning me — no, these tracks are calling two children and their father hiking, these precious summer days they'll faintly remember when they’re older. I go swimming instead of barging into their memories. On my back, staring up at the tippy tops of trees cutting away the horizon, sealing off how close this is to reality. I'm peeing in Walden Pond, my toes don't quite touch the bottom, but I can almost reach another plane, reach back to last summer wearing red shoes and unsure about each other, soft brushes of arms until one of us grabs the other's hand. We didn't take a picture because you hate pictures. That moment doesn't last because of course it doesn't. Treading water a year later, and finally a train comes roaring by. Its call reminds me I'm here, and I'm sure those kids can't hold back their delight as it storms by and forever away.

I've been writing about 19th century American utopian communities, and Walden was really a bit of a diversion. I think I spent two days there this summer. Being in that space, thinking about solitude as a contrast to community living, but another way of escaping — this poem is sorting through those thoughts.

Glass: A Journal of Poetry is published monthly by Glass Poetry Press.
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