Today at 9:29 pm is the Autumnal Equinox so I thought I’d share my poem. I ‘ve had a long dry spell; something like 15 rejections in the past two weeks so I figure I’ll publish one of my own poems here. Hope your writing is going well, that your dry spell is short, and that autumn is kind to you.
Peace, love, and solace
On a Saturday, wind blowing, sun in a wide sky,
this family of four goes to the woods, or what
passes for them around here. We park, walk past
a picnic: one guy at the barbecue, another
serenades with guitar, a third bunches bare legs
under the table. Today’s a chilling tweak
to end a week of Indian summer. At the lake’s
far side, past the trench where water drains from the toll road,
at a smooth spot without weeds, we get the tackle,
set up the pole, and thread the line. The other two
stay to fish while my older son and I hike through
overgrowth and fallen trees, to a prickly patch
of perpetual gloaming. We pick through trash–
wrappers, empty Vienna sausage cans,
survivalist fare among the prairie grasses.
We scrape lichen with sticks, kick at things,
spot deer a meadow away, count two,
see the male’s ears prick as we edge closer,
half-believing we can sneak but there’s
no silent crossing this crunchy floor. They’re off,
with a dainty hop, winking their tails.
Further on, we almost stumble on a crude
arrangement of fallen limbs, veed for enclosure.
An olive drab blanket lies amid grass. Near a heap
of bottles and cans, something pale protrudes
but we know not to pick through this site.
At the fishing spot, the boys trade places
and the younger comes exploring, investigates
tulgey mushrooms, copper against dead wood.
We cannot spot deer but find where they had lain,
the tall grass smoothed like parted hair. Two men walk
down a hummock of land toward the road.
I wonder if they’ve come for sex. Will we stumble
on them like deer exposed on the highway?
Assembled, we pack up, go through the weeds.
The boys, our guides, use stick machetes to clear the way,
chide us when we overtake them, “We’re the leaders,
we’re the leaders.” Deer are seen again. We reach where they’ve
been, smell the dusky scent. The older one says, “Yeah, it smells
like Band-aids,” and we all laugh. It’s just that way.
© Ellen Wade Beals, 2014