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.]
The weeds cannot tell me anything new.
I let them cover up the old lies
And the shapes are something
I could not have told myself
About how I grew over the person
I told people I was and became something
[Dear readers, While I deal with a little writer’s cramp of the soul, I thought I would share with you some poems from my book Vanishing Tracks, which was published in 2011. The poems I share this week are from a section called “Markers: Notes on a train trip from Virginia to Cape Cod and back again” and all the poems in that section were written, at least in draft form, on the train there or back again. Many of these poems deal in some way or another with memory, with looking back while bring propelled forward, even if the propulsion is, in the strange ways of geography and family, toward the past. I’m purposefully releasing only a selection of them, and out of order, at that, if only because I’m going to let the mood of each day determine what to reach back for.]