Philip Booth

Walking the heaved cement sidewalk down Main Street,

I end up where the town bottoms out: a parking lot

thick with sea-fog. There's Wister, my boyhood friend.


parked on the passenger side of his old Dodge pick-up.

He's waiting for Lucia, the girl who drives him around

and feeds him, the one who takes care of him at home.


Wister got married late. Like me. Wifeless now, no kids,

we're near sixty-eight, watching the ebb, looking out into

the fog. Fog so thick that if you got shingling your roof


you'd shingle three or four courses out onto

the fog before you fell off or sun came. Wister knows

that old joke. Not much else, not any more. His mind drifts


every whichway. When I start over to his old pick-up,

he waves to my wave coming toward him, his window half up,

half down. He forgets how to work it. I put my head


up close. Wister, I say, you got your compass with you

to steer her home through this fog? Wister smiles at me with

all sorts of joy, nodding yes. He says I don't know.

Found In Volume , No. 05
Read Issue
  • Philip Booth
Philip Booth
About the Author

Over the course of his career, Philip Booth published nine other collections of poetry, including Lifelines: Selected Poems, 1950-1999 (Viking Press, 1999), which received the 2001 Poets’ Prize, Pairs (1994), Relations: Selected Poems 1950-1985 (1986), Available Light (1976), and Weathers and Edges(1966).


Booth’s honors include Guggenheim, Rockefeller, and National Endowment for the Arts fellowships, and the Theodore Roethke Prize. In 1983 he was elected a Fellow of The Academy of American Poets.


He died in Hanover, New Hampshire, on July 2, 2007 from complications of Alzheimer’s disease.