by Myfanwy Collins
A road of dirt and stone led past a
dusty-drived, red house on the right. On the left,
a barbed fence wrapped carelessly around a brawny
tree that pointed to a field of mown hay. A doe stopped
in her tracks as she passed over the road, saw me,
snorted and moved on through a hole in the fence.
(That winter, we walked through the
snowy fields just behind the trees. We followed the
fence line and laughed at how far our feet sank. We
did not worry about being shot by an orange vested
The sheep farmer was quiet and young
and he could have been my friend. Though he and I
never spoke, I heard the voices of his animals every
day and every night. I listened for them. The coy-dogs
stayed by his fence and sang us (the farmer, me and
you and the sheep) to sleep at night until we were
startled, all of us, by the ringing gunshot followed
by the absence of song.
I grew a tall garden of corn and sunflowers,
tomatoes and pumpkins and lettuce and cucumbers and
radishes all in tidy raised rows. More vegetables
than we would ever need. So many that some rotted
on the vine. But the garden was patiently weeded each
And there were mourning doves that sat
on the roof and watched me take in my laundry from
the line in that moment that was perfection. You were
standing with the hood up on your car but we both
stopped, looked up at the roofline and waited until
the wind picked up. Nothing was ever the same after
And there was the sound of the bird
in the woods that is only in the woods. HEE hee hee
hee, HEE hee hee hee and who are you? And who are
And there were the Northern Lights -
the Aurora Borealis twice that summer - late and so
high in the sky that I almost drove off the road.
What is it? What is that?
(They say not to whistle when you see
the lights or the spirits will cut off your head and
play ball with it).
The stars and black, black sky, the
peepers and the quiet make me wonder what I am doing
here in this land of weed whackers and lawn mowers
and engines always engines burning and buzzing and
burning and buzzing and making a short life shorter.
But here and now it is spring again.
The daffodils rise, wetted with your
blood. They raise their happy faces to the sun and
say, here I am. The grass greens and the tulips push
their way up and out.
The forsythia is in bloom.
This is what I remember now.
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