He asked if I would go on another walk with him—
my two am blinking glances
at two am winking messages,
five shivered minutes waiting at the corner,
the flickering lamp we sat by as he told me
about a garden in Japan with seven rocks
placed so that no matter where you stood,
you could never see more than six—
and although I knew I wouldn’t be the first,
I still craned my neck to see
if I could be the one to see its wholeness
until he said it was almost three o’clock
and I realized that even if you
built a scale model,
charted a mapping,
and measured each angle,
you would only be proving the point.
About this piece
Many people I've shown this poem to seem to think it is about them. It is not.
Similarly to Altar Call, the actual act of writing this poem was fairly simple, since I went into it with a clear vision for what I wanted. The main change that came about in revision was the ordering of the final lines—in this final draft, they are in the order of which dimension they refer to (model: 3D, mapping: 2D, angle: also 2D, point: 1D), while in the original they were in the order I thought sounded nicest when read aloud. This change was inspired by the suggestion of my professor at the time, who I'm greatly indebted to for all the mentorship he offered during that semester.
A fun anecdote: after my prof gave me feedback for where I should take the piece during revisions, as I was packing up my things he said, "It's not true, you know. About the garden. It's possible to see all of the rocks, you just have to take a few steps back." That's probably the deepest moment of my life up to now.
I am really not sold on the title of this piece. It has gone through several iterations: "one more evening stroll," "our last evening stroll," "Our Last Evening Stroll," "Last Evening Stroll," and the faithful mainstay, "[untitled]." Why so many of these were all lowercase, I do not know. I only know that none of them are satisfying. In all seriousness, if you have any suggestions or feedback, please let me know!