Drifting

Either it comes to you

Or you go to it; nevertheless

You meet.

Highway 139 weaves southward

after your day of skiing;

a newly teenaged girl watches a screen in the back,

playing a movie meant for her younger self –

the older brother left behind at the friends’ cabin,

the eldest sister in a faraway city – the husband, somewhere

out on thinning ice; you the mother drive,

guitars over the radio, melancholy.

Pines along the road lined up as though to march,

perfectly still in parallel rows –

their branches just holding the light they’ve gathered,

protecting it from the flood of darkness

creeping ever upward;

They’ve picked up all the dropped bits

of stray light this afternoon and it drips

from their frayed fingertips into the shadowed evening that is

pooling around their thick ankles, knees, thighs;

(in the field across the wet highway

half a silo stands in the melting snow,

its top half lit up by the failing sun –

a cigarette half smoked, throwing

light like ash back into the field

without a second thought.)

In those pines

the bundles of light writhe and shift

and rise into the very top of the earth-bound trees

that can’t hold on, that won’t let go until they must

And then finally

without any cry at all they release

the light into a pale blue twilight,

branches deepening into purple and finally it’s only

Strands of wispy white cloud

combed lightly across the broad sky –

as a child after a long day and a bath,

as a man at the dinner table, smoothing his hair while he reads the paper,

as a woman in a casket, only now still –

The light will come around again

the next morning, and the next, it will again be gathered,

and settled around the trunks of the pines –

it will reach to be picked up,

and piece by piece it will be so,

by different pines,

only to be sent into the same dimming

sky.

 


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