She is right, this woman
I love, it has been a windy
Fall. And her blonde hair slips
Apart in long strands and with
One hand she combs it away from
Her face and she is smiling. For
Lunch she eats an apple and suns
Her legs, a summer skirt raised.
She is mother. A small boy is
Napping upstairs in the house.
When awake he will chase
Leaves that fall down from the
Sky, that’s how he sees it.
He calls me daddy because I am.
When I was off at work this
Morning up river laying stone
Along the road in the village
A blonde woman and her young son
Visited me. Hands cold gripping
Wet stone, boots chalked. This
Woman carried her little boy
In her arms, his green sweater
Was like the one my son wears
His mother knitted, ah the love
of mothers! and I gathered stone
By hand and thought of blue sky
Above, day clear as the river,
And why you must love what you do.
Oh yes, I've known welders
They're all by themselves
Their work smell is a strict greeting
From the Industrial Revolution
Years ago I knew a welder who worked
In town out of his one red garage
Doors always open wide, even in the rain
A fire of some kind burning
Victor in his helmet and torch in hand
Boots splattered, old pants------- cement floor
I've arrived to have one more truck bumper torn off
From the mud rides out of this valley brazened back on
He'll do what he can------- backside of town
Near the river------- some tall maple trees
Beautiful old homes going the way of no money any more
Look at all those slate roofs!
So many years later, Victor all gone, red garage is still there
And I'm visiting all over again the same location because
Our son has just moved into a rental in
The old house where maybe Victor lived
To my mind Victor just lived in the garage------- What's a house?
I mention how I've been here before to our son who has no
Idea really what I'm talking about except it's on
The way to just one more of his father's stories. . .
for Gerry Loose
photos © bob arnold"Lucky" from Once In Vermont (Gnomon, 1999)