Excerpts > Summer 2002

Stuart Dybek


On days when the sky is vacant blue
above pebbled chickens and the wheelbarrow
missing a wheel that's prowed into a wave of earth,
a rotted barrow still bearing its load of loam
from which weeds and timothy now sprout,
a barrow that, while not rain-glazed,
is no less red for being weathered, on such days
the white clothesline parallels the horizon.
Other days, fog weighs in on the backs
of sheep, and the equation of mist
plus unshorn wool equals something sensed,
but invisible. A cowbell tolls
like a bouy beached in a pasture,
and the question of horizon becomes moot,
and not metaphysically so,
like the tree falling in a forest.
Horizons come and go, clotheslines remain,
sheathed in ice, beaded with rain,
a boundary strung beyond the back door,
towards which, for no reason but a change,
one walks free from the clumsy weight
of laundry, maybe just for a breath
of cool, tangible air, and to listen
to the silence of mist-muffled sheep.
Compared to the horizon, a clothesline
isn't far to go, yet, from the distance,
the house has already disappeared.

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