was a hot day thrown suddenly cool
that hard rain, poured off the slate roof barn
the boy was hit by lightning.
safe, he thought, in the large doorway,
above him tapping,
trucks shining up.
for his age, father’s overalls, watching things,
complexion tan like pure maple syrup
stuff he gathered with his grandfather and horses.
old man and older brothers stoke and boil the wood fire,
those long nights in the sugar house.
way the light spills out of the small steamy windows
over snow, dreamy in the valley.
a mean bolt came down from the sky to end that,
splitting axe flying.
dripping smooth from the roof edge
onto his boots and cuffs,
still itching his back,
poking behind him in their stalls.
a light already it’s getting so dark, he thought —
him from the forehead straight down
him open like nothing should be.
family dog lay nearby on a broken bale
he has for 15 Julys,
head on his paws tilted and watching
burning the ground.
WHERE RIVERS MEET