Porch Light

I slip down the bank to the river, lean
Against a burned out stump, grey sand shifting
Over roots half buried beneath
The swell of winterís rain, untie the skiff,

Then settle in the bow before I shove
Out into the current. The rough oars
Creak inside the locks as I stretch and pull
Across the swirls and eddies to the center

Where I pause and watch a piper hurry
Up the shore, take to air, then disappear
Into the dark. Behind me now, the house
Is drifting, the porch-lightís yellow glow

The only sign of the distance Iíve traveled.
Last spring, the light burned day and night
While you and I waited, and for sometime
After you passed, I left it onó

Not for memoryís sakeóIíd just gotten so used
To it, I didnít notice, until it burned out
In the fall. I left it dark until last night.
And as I turn and row back to the shore,

And feel the east wind burn my face,
Iím glad I waited there with you.

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Ridge

The path down to the creek is slick with leaves,
smooth, damp husk of fall beneath the early thaw

of spring. I slip between two dogwoods braced
against a boulder, turn and listen

as the wind picks up, rattles through the pines
and settles down into the cut between

the hills. Below, I hear water
rushing over stones, a slow, uneven

rhythm, shifting through the pull and haul
of the gravel-bottomed bed. I cross

the path and hike along the ridge
until I stand beneath the nest the buzzards

built just inside the rim of a shallow cave.
Across the gap, a tractor tills the greenó

long, dark lines that trace a rising curve,
marking edges of a border I canít see.

The nest is empty now, but last spring,
they came up to the ridge, black monks perching

in the pines, and watched as you forgot,
your name, and mineóforgot until no more

Could be forgotten, until you looked
and only saw the buzzards lined along the limbs.

And now I scrape and dig and rake
this ridge to bury the nest we found.



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