A Selection from Lay of the Land


Out of the patchwork quilt
of all that used to be
good times and hard
a hundred years and more
surely they salvaged a little
flooring windows doors
places to stand
empty mouths eyeholes

but what won't move
or be torn up like
pegged poplar timbers
sillplates trued by eye
must be heaped and burned

and worse:
ma and pa shade maples cut
their stumps rooted and blasted
the well choked with
chunks of fieldstone foundation
the rusted cookstove
dumped in the outhouse hole
the yard harrowed and planted

Yet with all sign carted off
leveled scattered
snarled fenceline unstrung
rutted road plowed under
old lives overgrown
still every spring
up through winter wheat
clover alfalfa far as you can see
steal iris and crocus and tiger lily
to set a spell at these doorsteps

        --Paul Hunter