Monday, July 17, 2017


Old Back Road Story

Saw Cliff the day before in his backhoe
moving a good size rock in the jaws
of his bucket, he stopped a moment
and flipped open his cab door to talk
said they’d be tearing out the small
back woods road bridge the next day

we looked at the sign maybe Cliff
or some other worker had scribbled
a notice for all travelers to note:

bridge closed
june 22 from
7 am to 7 pm
if any Q
please call ...

Cliff then asked us :
its June 22

we also got
a feeling
Cliff or some-
one ran out of room
to write “Questions”
and that’s why on the sign
they used a “Q”

the writing looks like
it was written by god
if god was a bear

I ask Cliff what they
are going to do with
all the old hemlock
timbers from the deck
of the bridge?

gee, I don’t know, Bob
do you want’em?

I nod yes
he nods okay
consultation over

the next day, in driving rain,
all the way up the back road
a good mile comes Cliff in
his front end loader, every old
hemlock long plank and timber
he’s got balanced like a pro and
he raises his wide bucket high
and swings right through our stone-
wall barway and meets me with a grin to
his grin as I point to an edge of the
woodlot where he sets the whole load
down soft as an egg


Bob Arnold