Elegy


You will not hear

the grain mill clatter of wind.


You will not smell the lavender

cut for soap, or the apples, once sweet

and hard, not picked in time, now left to rot and crows.


You will not see the combine’s

black teeth and wake of dust shear sky from ridge,

or the growing clots of shadow form into deer or the coyote

follow them.


It is only light that you will see,

the bronze glaze of evening on the hills,

as the stone weight of air lifts from your lips.


You will remember

your granddaughter’s birth, her slippery form

in your wet hands, and the pastor’s boy, breached and blue.


You will remember everyone:

every child you delivered, the farmer

who drove you home through an Easter blizzard,

the waitress who paid her debt with eggs and peppers,

the neighbors who rebuilt your north barn--beam by beam--

after the fire, the town’s sole mechanic who fixed

your truck for free too many times,

the veterinarian who loved you and left you

during the hay and blood of lambing season.


You will half-blink one final time,

no longer stuck in the skin’s bondage,

a morning glory at dusk,


and just as every day begins in the last hour of sacred promise

so does this one end.