From the City of Gloucester, with regards to trash pickup*
Do not put out your trash tonight. The sky glitters with ice like glass
Slivers escaping the recycler, but made of purest water. They can land on your tongue
And you shall not be harmed. Do not put out what you have already
Disposed of, tonight in that monotone cold. Everything you no longer
Wanted will be covered up and turned overnight to something
Beautiful, a unique shape that will never be seen again.
The morning temperatures will rise and you will soon forget
The shapes of wonder that gathered before your door
And even as the snow recedes your memory will stick out its tongue
And your heart coming back to you will feel like walking on broken glass.
*Title stolen from a reminder on WordPress to residents of Gloucester, MA not to put their trash out because of the impending snow storm. Same situation tonight in Staunton, VA as the snow begins to fall. I love Gloucester and mean no offense. The title of that WordPress post just cried out to have a poem written beneath them. / JS
Mid-week in late October:
a New England apology.
Like the bird thought extinct
Seen pecking a mailbox post
It gives away nothing
But the ability to go on.
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.]