Monday, August 1, 2016


Marsh Hawk

Only 10 yards

Away, and I

Didn’t see her

Fly there, and

I won’t see

Her fly off —

Feathers matching

Down into the

Gray rain

Cedar post

Eyes looking

Straight ahead

Staring me down

Shirt in the Woods

It was a shirt in the woods,

He’s worn it all week

Pulled out cordwood with me —

Broke his truck down twice,

Climbed under and fixed it —

Drove the family to town

For supper at the Burger King

And wore the same shirt.

Said maybe his father had left it

On a tree the week before while

Cutting logs, or a hunter had walked

Through and forgot about it.

That’s his logic, makes sense.

Found over a low beech branch —

Tufted flannel, doggy, typical —

The same color these hills are

After the beautiful leaves have dropped.

No Tool or Rope or Pail

It hardly mattered what time of year

We passed by their farmhouse,

They never waved,

This old farm couple

Usually bent over in the vegetable garden

Or walking the muddy dooryard

Between house and red-weathered barn.

They would look up, see who was passing,

Then look back down, ignorant to the event.

We would always wave nonetheless,

Before you dropped me off at work

Further up on the hill,

Toolbox rattling in the backseat,

And then again on the way home

Later in the day, the pale sunlight

High up in their pasture,

Our arms out the window

Cooling ourselves.

And it was that one midsummer evening

We drove past and caught them sitting

Together on the front porch

At ease, chores done,

The tangle of cats and kittens

Cleaning themselves of fresh spilled milk

On the barn door ramp;

We drove by and they looked up —

The first time I’ve ever seen their

Hands free of any work,

No tool or rope or pail —

And they waved.


Bob Arnold
(Mad River Press)