25 November 2007

I'm not an optimist, I'm not a realist, I may be a sub-realist

--Jim Wayne Miller

Sometimes his mind flew back as a crow
over hundreds of coves and hollers
fallen silent since the people were swept
out like rafted logs on spring's high water.

Then his life would stand
empty as an abandoned house
in one of those forgotten places,
his days like blackened chimneys
standing in fields going back
to the thickets of second growth--
untended tombstones in a cemetery
up some lost valley.

Sometimes he thought there was nothing left
but the life of a half-wild dog
and the shelter of a junked car
turned on its back in a ditch, half
grown over with honeysuckle.

Or else his life became the house
seen once in a coal camp in Tennessee:
the second story blown off in a storm
so stairs led up into the air
and stopped.

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