The buzzing of a ladybug above the bathroom mirror
sounds like a small plane considering a landing on my head,
bowed toward the executioner's block—the sink.
My hands cup water like a supplicant, asking for a stay of despair
as my eyes, salty green as the olives our daughter adores, question the hour
when one of us will break from the confines of our lawn,
lush and shaggy from fall rains,
and kick through the sad confetti of fallen leaves,
which shimmered gold and promise-like
on the massive maple—as old as our country—before dropping in a luminous
pool around it. Downright heraldic.
Now those leaves cast about like a wizened nuisance
and their sunkenness says rake me out of sight behind the barn
and keep trudging upward—up the steep base of Red Mountain,
rising behind our house, past the denuded birches
to the bear tree, clawed until it snapped twenty feet up.
Quiet and violent it marks the border—
beyond which the wild begins.
Volume 99, Number 2