Scott Hightower


for Arlyn Garcia-Perez

"The Declaration of Independence,
Bill of Rights, and Constitution
are all here, not far away, in high
security vaults of extraordinary design."

My friend then orders Bacardí Limón
in her fine Cubano accent. If the city
were overtaken by disaster, our most
valued political documents would await—

locked in their dignity—new readers.
I'm still with the shower-whipped roses
we sloshed by on our way from the sessile
Dupont Circle Station maw: Odysseus

and his men sailing away from Death's Island,
and Aeneas and Dante finding their way
after their dialogues in worlds without
art; each a past informing the day...

One of our tablemates, a nurse, is finishing
his story. The denouement: at the end
of a journey, a youth faces his grandfather
for the first time in a bodega in Salinas, P.R.

Secrecies are most often despicable. Five
private missions edify one train of thought:
It is a privilege to educate,
it is a privilege to heal.

Scott Hightower's third collection, Part of the Bargain, received the Copper Canyon Press's 2004 Hayden Carruth Award. He was born on a ranch in central Texas, and presently lives in New York City.


Published in Volume 7, Number 3, Summer 2006.