Monday, January 5, 2009

The Path:

January 5 2009
Cold air arrived in the night
Yesterday’s warm rain became
This morning’s chilly fog
I went back to the hidden
Hollow, poised to vanish
Between the flanks of the hill
With a school on one side and
A golf course on the other.
I stepped through the gap
In the fence, and climbed down
The slope
Letting the tear in the mist
Fuse back against the outside.
There were a lot of birds, one, hidden in the cedars
Announced me to the rest, most of them just sit-
ting on the branches, breasts ruffled against
The damp.
I squatted near a sinkhole broken through
To the spring-water running underground
Surrounded by the dark thicket of trees,
Enclosed in every direction with briar patch
Barricades. The rain
Has fed the springs and the sound,
Enclosed and muffled by the heavy thickets
Something over and over.

The path can still be clearly seen
Cut into the earth by repeated steps, a stop
Of stacked stones retains the slope above, the
Moss, fostered by cedar shade, and slender stalks
Of ebony spleenwort line the way
From the mouth of the holler, where the cabin stood
To the springhouse near the upper end.
They would have walked past two
Little enclosures, gardens or meadows, again
And again,
A line of stacked rocks shows
Where something, a fence or a wall
Once stood,
Those spaces filled now with
The powder-blue arcs of raspberry canes
Barely paler than the fog.
I am listening for what the air might sustain,
Not really looking, in case
Their movements might be retained
Somehow, and the mist, in its slow motion swirls
show the infinitesimal trace
Of a body moving on the trail

And I am being very still
Because this might work both ways.

The atoms of the mist suspend
The portals of the mind
Fitting an imagined pace
To what the body left behind;
A trace on the earth,
The round of chores,
A row of stones,
The path back


Cathy said...

And I am being very still
Because this might work both ways.

That gave me shivers, in a good way.

Dan Dutton said...

Experiential self-hauntings are becoming my specialty! More anon.

Don't you love a good shiver?