ON A SUMMER MORNING, SHE GOES WALKING WITH DEATH

 
Come with me, she says.
Look around: green chokecherries will ripen to black.
Listen:  the common yellow-throat’s uncommon song.

Yes, I see your dead doe in the ditch.
She is not lost.
She is grazing on tender grass in a place you cannot go.

Flowers bloom by the old brick house.
Look: a yellow cat among the asters.
Shades of mice scamper around her feet.

Wild apple trees will bear a sweet and gnarly fruit.
Can you hear the laughter of your farmer tending them
a hundred years ago?

Bluebells and daylilies, dead nettle
and roses spread around that abandoned foundation hole.
Your gardener is there, her hands deep in the soil.

Beehives where the tavern was
when this was a stagecoach road.
Do you hear the singing?

See the cows there, in that barnyard?
The one closest to the fence has a wise intelligent face.
I was here when she was born, not you.

The fields are scented with alfalfa and sweet clover.
Hear the new-fledged swallows chip, see them tilt
through flocks of your passenger pigeons, across the clearest sky.

Yes, I remember your dead twin calves
and their mother licking them.  I tell you
they are not lost.  They are with her still.

See there?  What do you think?  Those harriers
who nest in the pinewoods on the edge of the gully
are hunting baby rabbits above the corn.

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