The edge of wild, where
Hickory and goldenrod nod
Cobwebbed September awake—
Afternoon heat from the asphalt,
And the sweetly stinking carcass
Picked over by the black-headed
Buzzards until, sated and flown,
Timid turkey vultures approach,
Sadly hopping forth with hope.
You’ve seen this broken
Scene, the forty six year
Old man, castaway in the wreck
Of self-loathing bones—
Oh, wild! No pity, too broken
To even wash his own socks,
Hunting asparagus along the fence
Rows sprung forth from bird droppings.
Succor! Wild child! Still,
We dream of mothers
From 1950s sitcoms, smelling
Chocolate chip cookies
As we forage for fiddleheads,
Chanterelles, ramps along the wooded
Creek bottom. Unrequited comfort.
The apron strings so starkly
Black and white, and
The kitchen set straight every night.
Out on the river, the water
Gin-clear, the man looks
Over the side and sees
Not only the stony bottom but, just
Above, catfish, blue-gray shadows,
Scores upon scores, uncatchable as
Sleeping dreamers, unconscious
And floating one inch above the bed—
Or three feet below, it doesn’t
Matter. It’s a very deep sleep.
Oh, heartbroken wild,
Wracked with nodding shame!
Grief! Suffering! The man fixed
Frozen where the water is so clear,
He could reach a hand and
Pluck a fish brightly as a guitar string—
One lonely, tentative note, filling the
Autumn air with plaintive song.