Time’s going has ebbed the moorings
to the memories that make this city-kid
part farm-boy. Until a smell close enough to
the sweet-musk of horse tunes my ears back
to tree frogs blossoming after a country rain.
I’m back among snakes like slugs wedged
in ankle-high grass, back inside that small
eternity spent searching for soft ground, straining
not to spill the water-logged heft of a drowned
barn cat carried in the shallow scoop of a shovel.
And my brother, large on the stairs, crying.
Each shift in the winds of remembering renders me
immediate again, like ancient valleys reignited
by more lightning. If only I could settle on
the porch of waiting and listening,
near the big maple bent by children and heat,
just before the sweeping threat of summer
thunderstorms. We have our places for
loneliness—that loaded asking of the body.
my mother stands beside the kitchen window, her hands
no longer in constant motion. And my father
walks along the tired fence, watching horses
and clouds roll down against the dying light—
I know he wants to become one or the other.
I want to jar the tenderness of seasons,
to crawl deep into the moment. I’ve come
to write less fear into the boy running
through the half-dark. I’ve come for the boy.