Monday, March 9, 2020
Between talking to myself
While walking around
Choosing the right stone
And talking to myself while
Laying the stone as to what
Works right and doesn’t
I have enough company by
Myself not to have you who
Back Road Archaeology
Every morning Native ate pancakes —
I would walk the mile north to his farm
To catch a ride with him to work,
Sat while he ate, looked out the
Thick plastic of his kitchen windows,
At the third chair — a plate of pancakes
For his son still in bed, 5:30 a.m.
On the way out the door, pulling
His heavy coat off a nail, Native
Tossed the paper plate onto a year’s
Worth of paper plates on the back porch,
Each licked clean by his dogs
Next month, in April, after half the
Junk has blown away from the farm
He will load what is left into a manure spreader,
Haul it down pasture to the old
Stone foundation where his parents
An Old Timer
selling his tools on the lawn —
what pains him the most is
seeing them laid out that way
Climbing the roof
With a bucket of sand
Stars above bigger than ever
Some say they’ve moved out.
Gone. None of their kids are
Seen up at the school bus stop,
& I haven’t seen the VW without
Plates on the road, nor Native’s truck.
Gone. Born here, still young, married
& with the two kids, but now gone.
He was working in a garage outside
Of town until he got fired. They
Said he was doing well for himself,
Then he started to drink with the
Boys after work, got home past
Midnight — his wife stopped waiting up —
For months she would borrow a neighbor’s
Phone to call him, whisper pleas.
But now they’re gone. No kids at
The bus stop. Their dogs still prowl
& beg in the village, pick fights, bite.
One of them ate a turkey right off the
Back porch of a bountiful Thanksgiving
Day feast, months ago, before Native’s job
At the garage, before he came home
Drunk or stoned, before they were gone.
It’s still talked about.
I drove by their trailer today.
Place looked dead.
The door stoop was gone.