The flames lick against the side of a rusted drum;
Something rustles behind the apple trees,
And a dog runs barking into the lowering dark,
Joyously fierce as its sound echoes against
The walnut stand along the creek.
I flick a cigarette ash into the diesel stained air
And suppress a shiver from the night –
Another frost settling down on this October twilight.
A lamp inside the storm plastic window by the door
Glows incandescent warm and inviting;
I can hear the soft murmur of the evening news
As it rises and falls against the whisper of the furnace.
In the windbreak of the shed I watch the fire
Flash and caress the falling blackness,
Feel its heat flicker against my face in patterns
Of Hallowe’en orange and ebony.
The whine of the all-night combines reaches out
Across the half-barren land, exciting the young puppies
With its strange roar and threshing; while the Harvest moon
Bathes the rooftops with its slowing rising amber.
What dreams have found their way across this silent sky
To slip unnoticed into the great horizon of grain?
My shadow, cast against the peeled and graying barn
Rocks back and forth in quiet contemplation.
I lost my childhood on this spot, this faded hill of green,
And buried it among the weeds that grow unchecked
While my endless struggle wanes and wretches,
Shouting pleas to ancient timbers; when it wakes
Will I remember, once or twice more, the grasping cold
Ground and fight, desperate, its bitter memory?
Or will I turn, again, away, and looking back, forget
My lonely cries of summer tossed against this wind?
19 OCT 1997