Coal seams ribbon from county
to county like fuses
burning the shadow of fire
When the wind picks up,
trees bend down
to listen to the ground.
Quietly, from warm graves,
Lying in a Mound of Leaves
I lie buried
under leaves, the ground
cold beneath me
like the floor of an Indian burial
mound, roof beaten by rain,
broken windows of light
scattered through mica hallways.
I lie still
and wonder if, when I get up,
the outline of my body will
shine on the earth like snail silver.
I hear my son calling and calling.
When I burst from the mound
he screams, then laughs, then runs
into my dead arms.
The pen, the pad, the dog on my lap,
the end-table, the newspaper, the steaming cup of coffee,
the empty couch, the clock marking the empty minutes,
the branch tapping windowpanes speckled with rain,
the indecisive weathervane squeaking on the roof,
the dispossessed headlights streaking down the road,
the driver, lost but not lost, heading straight for home.
I have finally reached the inevitable
clearing in the woods, that place
where looking down the path behind me
and looking up the path that lies ahead
is the same as looking into my grave.
From nowhere in particular
and everywhere around me, dispossessed
voices whisper stories of my life
I was too young to remember
and stories I have not yet lived to forget.