Alan: Another poem for my brother Don. For a long time, I couldn’t believe he was really gone, or how, or why.
Taking Away The Mountain
I looked up this morning, and saw that they
had taken away the mountain.
“They” being just an expression: some conspiracy –
persons or forces unknown.
It happened in the night without tumult or dust,
bulldozers, prior notification:
this mountain, there in the long dark range,
backing my days, hardly noticed
over the shoulder, one horizon or another.
Now its absence a rebuke: a gap
visited over and over by the tongue.
Mountain, I looked up and saw that you were gone,
and the place where you were filled me with sadness.
I looked again: all the mountains clouds, it seems,
or even stranger beings – less substantial – all along.
Nancy: The unplanned shaping of a life. A time machine as simple as a footprint on a muddy bank, the smell of woodsmoke mixed with mist rising from water.
Where I Fished With My Father
From the banks of the slow streams
poles buckets walk low chatter
above my head
long legs short legs catch up
my pole my bobber my fish
little girl little fish
pat it pat it put it back
and cold ponds
tall quiet man and gangly girl
opening his childhood
passing on mists and names
receiving dawns and silences
the ways of a fire
the taste of fish
and by the Tawasentha
I’m showing you this
you can always come here
you can come alone
you’re a big girl now
leave us a note
just say gone fishing by the creek
And when I flew home
back to my own family
with his tackle box
his rod case
there were many waters still
where it was quiet
and I fished with my father.