Kerrin McCadden

Street View

I Google where I come from in Ireland,

drag the orange man to street view

and click the spin arrow over and over

so I can see it all.  I push the white

circle as close as I can to the old house,

wanting to sit the little man inside it.

When I click on him to pull him off

the control panel, above his + and – ,

he flies, a patch of green hovering

below him, his own flying island, his little

earth shadow, smudged at the edges, the earth-

map ocean below pulling at its beaches,

my index finger’s pad the moon, my hand

the god I am not, though here in my village

home, sturdy and clapboarded, I am a kind

of one who can see across the world,

move a little man to where I want him,

spin him, and see what he sees, my Flex-Steel

Sofa and hassock my cloud bank god office. 

If the phone rings, I will ignore it,

will hear the cars sighing through the village

like a lover sleeping, breathing in

and out like the waves on the flying island, or

the breathing of parlor pipes, the elbow pressing

its lung like fast-motion tides pull oceans

into plastic shapes, the peaks of them—

a god pinching a blanket into a fort.

He flies, and for a minute, because I can,

I flip him back and forth, dangle him

from his pivot head, his legs flipping

left and right, his arms back a bit,

like I am leading on the dance-floor,

and I have dipped him, the small of his back

arched, his arms not reaching out to save

himself.  Then, the veins of roads fill

with blue, and if I drop him into one,

the earth will flip from map to street view

and I will see out of my man’s eyes,

and where was he all my life?  I walk

him around far out toward the bog-

land, where Google shows so little green,

more brown as the hills climb toward the border

with Northern Ireland, stop shy of the wind-

farm’s five pylons, and I lift my finger

to drop him there, right in front of the no-

roof old house, which in map view

looks like a sheep fold, its roof long fallen

and rotted back in—a busted shoebox

full of derelict farm tools.

I look for a way to rebuild it, think five gallon

buckets and some lime-wash, a new roof.

I can do the metal kind myself, on my knees,

loving the world from above it, grabbing onto

the ladder to steady the vertigo, and though

he has no hands, I watch him scrape and smear

rough clay onto walls with a bull-nosed trowel,

each stroke burying perlite into the water

of the mix, the smoothest surface the one

longest touched.  I can tell by the way

he does not look at me that soon he will

want me to start on the roof and the door,

and that while I have always been an insect

trapped inside a car, gone for a drive

that seemed a moment’s thought, gone instead

to Florida, or the moon, the whole world

wrong once I was released, it seems that we

are a likely pair.  Who knows what he is thinking,

never saying much, his feet no things

for walking on, his face no place for features.

Who knows what a rock outline thinks about

either, what waste of time it rolls on its tongue. 



“Street View” first appeared in American Poetry Review, Vol. 44, #6, November/December 2015.