by John Davies

In town a long sad face shunting a rumble
turned into Howard Williams from Philadelphia
tracking his roots. I owe America:
tour buses roared sawing Wales in half
as we talked and later I showed him our pet castle.
Ghost yawns closing one eye then his other
suggested that belonging might prove costly.

West in thrashed acres where he found
most valleys are depressions between faults,
farms and quarries mourned by sheds
proved rain’s not always kind to withered roots.

The bar foamed . Stan at the Cross Foxes,
home of the brave, folded in laughter, an ancient                                                               head juggling false teeth. He was a punch and judy show-
Howard wasn’t unimpressed but shunned groups of more                                                than one. Was it eyes sad about their wicked weight
of brow turned down his mouth, the grin a wince?
His voice trailing off in search of an entrance
or exit said it wasn’t a past he needed.

He stayed long enough anyway to lose his tan,
sing with the choir once and leave antique shops
looted . Whole bunches of choice bric
and brae were bedded lovingly for transplant
so though Howard found not a single root
quite a lot of the old country went with him, you bet.

John Davies lives in Prestatyn, Wales, and has been a visiting professor teaching creative writing this year. His next book, Flight Patterns, to be published in the spring of 1988, will include poems evoking his Utah experience.