blackbird online journal spring 2002 vol.1 no. 1



The Carriage Road

When autumn turned
            the trees and there was nothing
left to do but rake their musk,
I’d bike along a carriage road
            beyond the place we called town.

I went slow down the road’s listening
           so images still came through:
a tractor idle in a field,
its silence held
           in the empty hood of my jacket.

Then instep, foothold, and sprocket
           while an old stone wall rolled past,
a hundred cracks for an eye
or the sight of a gun.
            I thought a man owned

that land and knew what it needed.
           Some trees were tied with ribbons,
planned takedowns
by a forester I’d never seen.
           An awful smell blew up

from the scutch,
           something along the lines of vetch
or the torpor of swampgas.
I’d heard about a teen who was hurt
           on that road while testing

the limits of his mini-bike,
           his back broken
on an odd paradox of sand.
But no markers or ghosts,
           just fire in my legs as I pedaled

through the scent of the trash trees.
           Puddles riddled the road.
My path a collage of leaves.
And though I had no idea
            I was a burden to that place,

a noise in the center of its sleep,
            I was beginning to learn
that inanimate things have
a consciousness, that a tree remembers
            its birth in a basin of peat. 

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