Pine trees stir in a chorus of darkness.
The lake taps the shore as if to tell me something.
A light rain increases the abstractions, all edges blur.
Dark tilled fields stretch for miles.
The Midwest settles into my chest.
Colts bolt across untouched Dakota acres
alive with the cymbal-smash of affectionate caresses.
Farms, barns, somnolent cows, empty gravel roads and distant houses
make up the landscape I walk in, where once, a long time ago,
Indians slept and walked, dissolving into the shadows with tenderness.
On Andy Cleland’s farm, the one closest to the lake,
where cattails flourish at the water’s edge,
there is one huge hill, vacant of shrubbery.
I was told once it was an Indian burial mound
and that was why no tree or bush would grow on that hill.
All these years later and the hill is still bald,
whispering softly as the revolutions of the sea,
echoing with the mouths of the vanquished.
Sheep maraud across the hill’s back,
exhilarated by the dirt smells born again by spring,
the wind haunted with the songs of comrades now gone.
The rest of this panorama is immense, dark, impenetrable, unstructured.
But if you look closely in the left-hand corner,
I can just be distinguished from the blue blue brilliance of all this land,
a tiny figure, no bigger than a grass blade, a shadow hugged by shadows,
heading home after a long walk nowhere,
encircled by a halo of rocks, trees, crops, rivers, clouds–
by every blessed thing conspiring together to save my life.
Copyright 2004 by Spencer Reece
Copied from The Clerk’s Tale