Land

It opens, and then opens again,
grows over, and changes,

lose-some, gain-some.

There were trees,
once, deer cover, and browse,

hunting grounds of hawk and owl, squirrel runs,

old stumps and bark, nothing
if not hospitable.

It was open:

to the chatter and shriek
of birds, to the occasional hunter

and bands of travelers, it was theirs.

Before surveyors and deeds, the rasp
of saws and bangs and clanks of wood

against wood and iron

against iron. Hard
work, and sharp voices,

to the trees

that now were eyed
as so many board feet and fenceposts,

this one for the house, that for the barn, the rest,

firewood: open, always,
to what we need from it,

and what we bring.

It opened to pond and pasture,
to its fescues and grasses, the ditsy

calico of meadow flowers.

To dogs, now, and children, and bicycles,
ball-players, runners, under the eyes of the gone

trees and the ghosts of the first nations.

First published in Triggerfish Critical Review, no. 24 (2020)

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