The Manchester Review
Jeffrey Wainwright
Selections from The Reasoner
print view


In none of the senses can this be art:
the Highway-Surveyor’s Department
has been along and spray-painted the roadway
with signs to mean things like ‘dig here … amend…
pipe …’ and through rain and shine
the codes lie weathering into the many greys
and granulations of asphalt. The road waits.

Until the painter happens by with his Polaroid.
He looks down. A car passes over. He blinks.
He blinks. A van. A bicycle. (For variation.)
He blinks again. They make no difference.
Home with his snaps he takes up his brush
and enters the marks, goes into them,
what other way is there to put it?
He enters the marks.
There is something else in there,
the road-code is a gift,
but there is something else in there
and only his brush can find it out.