The Inexhaustible West of the Heart

We dragged our luggage through the slush
Squinted in the freezing rain
Our soggy socks, the subway crush
The wait as they de-iced the plane
But to at last alight
In the Caribbean night
The air like slipping into a waiting bath

The ragged rows of hand-fired brick
The steeple where the lanterns hung
We toured a wooden battleship
Saw where they’d placed the harbor guns
Beneath a swinging sign
We stopped to have some wine
The firelight shadows played on the wooden beams

So we track down the fugitive summer
So vanished worlds may be revived
What incantation will let me recover
What I was at twenty-five?

They sunk the casings in the ground
And ran light rail out to the shore
They pumped the valley waters down
And built the planes that won the war
A kid in a basement room
Transcribing doo-wop tunes
Dreamed a world and by dreaming made it real

The westbound wagons tracked the prairie with blood
The coast is strewn with dreams that fell apart
But there comes a morning when the sunlight will flood
The inexhaustible west of the heart