Note: The leaves are mostly down, marking the end of my first full-length fall in Vermont after a summer where the wildnesses spoke to me of peace. Now I'm turning over rocks and finding many salamanders, seeing flocks of wild turkeys and pumpkins in the fields. "Solace" came from a dream which unrolled as if it were a play. I want to express my gratitude for the kindnesses of other poets in the Verse Virtual community. Find more about my poetry at triciaknoll.com.
Where Little Wildnesses Are Whole
In this jigsaw puzzle of missing pieces,
when you figure how a few jagged edges come
together…a rock wall where the garter snake
hides under a stepping stone or suns in long grass
near where the pond fidgets with tadpoles.
An old man pushing the lawnmower
stops to tell his stories about the flames
of the tail of the red fox in a field or
wild turkeys pass through on their way
to the birdfeeder next door... Where bats
flicker through the night sky along side
fireflies, you may see true darkness
remote from masses of forced light –
that parking lot or mall, and the lethal
heat wave breaks in favor of summer
winds that roil the hickory crowns,
even frogs pop out of the pond to boom
at the white bloom-cup on the lily pad.
Jerry saw the silhouette of his father’s face
in the naked branches of the oak tree.
That was how he knew he could cry,
that his father would be at hand
at least through the winter. His father
who took him up the hill in the park
to see dragons and tractors in storm clouds.
His brother brought pepperoni pizza,
not enough for the retired teachers
and suburban friends who showed up
with deviled eggs and focaccia sandwiches
or the aging men with motorcycles drinking
beer down the street. His neighbor Lou
was kind enough to say he saw the face
even though he insisted those arriving
should park their cars inside the lines
and not leave the doors hanging open
while they unbuckled children and hugged
as if they hadn’t seen their cousins
three weeks ago at the ninetieth
birthday party where the now dead
patriarch had praised the frosted green cake
for his Irish wife he said he planned
to see again soon. That night he blew
out nine wavering candles with such vigor
that Jerry thought he might live
forever or at least to ninety-one.
Now that face in limbs. Jerry stands
on the curb, looks west where sunset
backlights the oak. The laughing lip is right,
the add-on tuft of scraggle beard. At midnight
Jerry decides to stay silent about the likeness
hovering in that tornado-twisted oak.
No one expects Jerry to nurture the family
as his father did with stories mixing truth
and hyperbole, humor and righteousness.
It was enough to not be left alone.
© 2018 Tricia Knoll
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