MAINE SENIOR POET LAUREATE
Roger Finch

HE’S LEAVING HOME

My image is a thin tin gauze
on the window of the bus;
beyond that, Pittsburgh, with its skyscrapers, hills,
rivers, bridges, mills, is a bold design
that crosses me out. There, at the rim,
behind the plate glass doors of the terminal,
Mother stands, arm raised in a white pantomime

of surrender. I want to flee
the bus, rush into her arms,
feel the unfinished boyhood flow back into my life;
no, I want to be free. Before she has time
to walk to the streetcar, I will be out,
out on the highway; before she reaches home,
opens the door, steps in, switches on the light

on emptiness, we will cross
the county line. As it goes dark,
the towns will not be so much scenes for a ghost
as a palimpsest on which a new profile
of me is being written in white.
From time to time I will turn and see my face,
pale and uncertain, floating along the night.


Roger Finch, 73, of Cape Neddick, is a retired university professor of English and Linguistics. He is a prolific writer, especially of poetry, who has published three books of poetry as well as numerous scholarly articles on phonology and comparative linguistics. Titles of his poetry books are According to Lilies (Carcanet), Fox in the Morning (Leviathan), and Stations of the Sun (Somerset Hall). His sign is Aries.