Coming to New England by Train
The rocks are back, drifting just above
The earth’s surface like wildflowers along the tracks.
First a few outcroppings as if someone dropped rock seeds
By mistake, then wilder bunches of them, knee-high humps
Like micro mountain ranges. Soon they are shaping the landscape.
They are the engineers in charge, edging the banks heaving
To the tree line. They make walls but are not rocks with a mind
For mortar. They settle for nothing but themselves.
In Connecticut you see the first rocks on lawns,
In Rhode Island they are primary lawn ornaments
Bigger than the people who lived there. Clearly the house was designed
Around the rock. Wildflowers have been planted
At the foot of the rock. I know I am home because the clouds
Stick out of the sky like dry stones in calm blue water.
[Another poem from the sequence “Markers,” in which all the poems were written during a train trip from Virginia to New England and back.]