Just a few thin sticks in wet snow beneath slants of pines—
Barbed wire fencing marks the back edge of. And, suddenly,
this opens. Grampa O. pulls the middle strand of wire up against the top strand to make an opening for—Uncle Greg and Aunt Cheryl step through with their rifles, but who turns around to hold the fence-wires for Grandpa when
Wet snow thins to transparency, rust as rust-colored needles—
Who turns to hold the fence-wires when
Step through into the field. Gnarled, frozen bark cracks shedding in layers. Pulls the middle strand of wire upward; opens and keeps opening slate grey sky—a clear boundary that pulls apart.
Dry brown leaves drag, spinning forward—mark a
Graphite-colored shadows flattening against snow, slick,
ice-crusted muddy ruts through broken corn-stalks.
Stop-start motion of dry brown leaves rattle—kinetic
against each other in wind, in snow, against the fence. Wire snaps
back into place
They step through into the field, disappear in snow. The distance
As we turn from where we are standing, walk back towards the house.
Our mess of footprints. The distance expanding in, arcs in both
Turn to answer distance / with distance. Frost-stained grass, yellow
surfacing beneath trees in patches—
And What Else
brown water in. Flowing
in. Stretches of white light against
the inverted reflections of
trees. Muddied hymn in which the
blunt shape of something white
or off-white flows wide against a
reversed fringe of leaves, bank’s
dry brown tangle.
Metallic butterfly’s drift beneath double shepherd’s hook. Distance between here and there: m – o – n – a – r – c – h
c – o – n – d – o – m – i – n – i – u – m
that feels true enough
Bent inversions of leaves in
grill’s rounded dome.
White light in shine
And so. Looks inside, outside. Weathered door of neighbor’s yellow shed, god-awful lawn jockey. Wind-current gathering in branches, my would-be green clothesline tensed to nuances of weather. White phlox scattered through the lot behind Doris’ house. Language flowering to
answer itself while I sit inside behind changing slats of
blinds drifting in open screen. Another sloppy late-afternoon
rhythm arriving in hampered light—a
black bracelet floating over a white page, a cursive hand alongside a typed hand; a wet
ring on the tablecloth under the bottle.
Gramma or Grampa O. stepping out onto the patio—watery
horizon tunneling between lake and—; how-old thought: whitecaps are
torn envelopes, or no not like. And maybe I
get to wade out to help check the anchor, snap the
Phil turns on the ballgame, unfolds the newspaper; shakes it open.
Wind’s trace of leaves flipping pale green against dense green of Maple’s foliage. (Do I capitalize
Maple because it’s the only maple. B/c it who-knows, provides a
Dry glitter of leaves outside answering wind’s texture. Static. Phil flipping channels during must-be commercials then. Green clothesline wires
tightened to screws, vibrating,
Bark scarred from antlers or whatever.
Marks a renewed desire for there, one gets to / goes to.
I stop and the wet-grey skyline keeps going.
Dashed mirror of rain across deck planks—back, and left the
upward arc of pine boughs.
Then why do I think of the lasting fact, face, etc.
The governance of memory opening
wet notes of flowers.
This compulsion to locate a
particular point in
time and space.
A tear of light inside reflection and. World I reach toward, can touch,
in the thick summer air. Breathing the humidity, pollen intake
maple, cottonwood seed, and what else—trajectories that
continue inside / body’s lasting
Paint flaking off from an old wooden chair in the dew-dry
garden near the garage. Reading: attention
chrysalis near the lower cross-beams. Start anywhere and
love widens the context
the way a red maple is red.
Franklin. Quiet. Megan sleeping inside—her
morning nap. Where’s Maggie
Home again, hours later, and okay. Changing light in which that
corner of seawall. Brown water; flat current beneath
and across. A lasting confidence
Open the word and walk inside, under leaves and.
The current fluxing, & I can barely stand / the way I
treasure a dented metal watering can / near the door.
In this variance of light. Morning where.
Brick steps into someone else’s back yard. We choose to / take them or
don’t take them.
Margaret sitting outside on the deck, eating an apple in the rain,
watching the dogs play.
Nathan Hauke lives in Salt Lake City. His poetry has been published in (or is forthcoming from) Denver Quarterly, EOAGH, New American Writing, Interim, XANTIPPE, Parthenon West, Colorado Review, Twenty Six, Forklift, Ohio, Electronic Poetry Review, Free Verse, Word For Word, Gutcult, and the tiny.