Alan: Even in the country, the wild animals are mostly “out there.” But every so often, their lives and ours intersect and then what should we do?
At Straight Bay
The beaver died before dark
where we had placed it in the back of the truck
in a crate with grass, water and poplar bark.
It had shivered in the sun
all afternoon, covered in a coat, where some kids
had found it. No telling what was wrong.
“So hard to do the right
thing. So many animals have died on my hands.”
You cried some. It pelted rain all night.
I dug a hole the next day
near the old salt-gnarled poplar that grows
in the stiff earth at the edge of the bay.
You wrapped it up and carried
all that beaver sleekness as tenderly as a babe
down the hill, across the field to where it was buried.
Nancy: While Papa’s vegetables and Granny’s flowers knew their places, I love the intermingled, unexpected happenstance.
Poppies In The Corn
Now that I’m older than my father,
older even than my grandmother,
I can do as I please. It’s ok with me
that daffodils are coming up in the potatoes,
nicotiana in the corn, poppies
Not that the garden’s untidy. My rows
are as straight as my father’s, my
flowers as prolific as Granny’s; if
they were disembodied spirits hovering overhead
they could hardly find fault.
No, my hands are as stained,
my beds as tidy, my bean poles as straight
as either of them could wish. Could
they understand, those lingering ghosts,
why I coax flowers to raise their heads
where they will? Listen:
Now that I’m older than either of you, my
loving fierce antagonists, I will bring you
together at last, in my garden; in my garden
where I can love you both best.
“At Straight Bay” first appeared in Slow Dancer magazine.