January 10, 2011

For Hunter

by Ansley Clark

Hunter is back home, alone, in that house,
in the middle of the black murmur,
           black woods.
On those arctic autumn evenings he listens
to the dishwasher hum, smoky creakings
of the wood stove, strange rustlings of the creek,
to the steady ceaseless drip of rootless northern rain
asking him to take its hand and follow.
           He listens to silence.
The last of us home, he will be last of us to leave,
to scatter, to throw himself outward,
as we have already done.

On nights like these I roam,
wayward, against the town's distant lights,
and the country is huge--lengthy sky ablaze--
broad, burning ocean of wandering earth under unfamiliar
             and on nights like these,
the world's immensity is coppery, too bright,
prods a dull, familiar ache.

I don't know how anyone lives
in this world of light and dark, of leaving,
          of the human heart,
which is not a whole entity but scattered
in a thousand flaming pieces across the cracking earth.
I only know the memory of rain and woods
           and silence,
constantly knotting me
to you.

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