for Ed Dorn, in England

Eddy Street in Fort Scott runs north & south
The house I grew up in faces east, the back door to the west
As I write this in San Francisco I sit facing west to the ocean
The plains stretch between our backs
I sleep with my head to the south, and there, to the north
I went east from our house to go to grade school, and then high school, south & east
As here the work, if there is any, is east & north
You went by various right angles to get to
The freeways have reverted from the 19th century grid to the wandering path around obstacles
The main street here, Market, runs NE, SW
And in Fort Scott, Main Street, runs north and south
It is a ‘main street’ and a ‘city square’ town both —
the old square of the fort, the town grew up beyond, down Main Street —
as Market Street there runs NW, SE
(But ‘the square’ there, though, meant the triangle between Market, Wall & National, not the fort
Eyes in the back of the head tell me where I went there
It is an east-west axis —
as here they look north, the bare Marin headlands
But it is the angled turns that turn new vistas
On the plains you cannot even tell what you’ll hit, gone catty-corner off
Here    point to the unknown four corners of the state
And crossings, then? or what, simply, these roads and directions
.            .            .
— 21 Nov 65