Christopher Howell

A man is standing in a field
at the edge of a town so small
it sometimes forgets itself and goes home
to its pale, lopsided houses and dry, leaf-filled
fish ponds in the weedy corners
of its yards.  If it’s almost dark
someone might suppose
he has come to lift his arms and ask
for a life that would remember him
or for a vision of horses wading toward the moon
just rising to signal that all’s well. But
as to that, who knows; so far

it might as well mean his mother

is calling her old dog in
from the barn, the barn that burned
and the dog that has been dead for fifty years.
He might as well be anyone come to that edge
that says things end
at the beginning of something else, that even wind
fingering the grass
knows this, teasing his mother’s mad white hair
in another life, where the fields continue to begin,
where the path that brought him ends and doesn’t care
how large or far or bright the rising moon, or if the dog
comes a last time when she calls.

Originally appeared in Louisville Review

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