– to Norman Dukes

                Such razor-sheen
the ponds, viewed against sundown,
the plane banking, prop cuts the air, pulls,
and wings uphold us. Flash of ponds
deep in the brain old fires,
breath blown on dry grass, flint spark
(no dream yet of phosphorus: locked secret
in the bones of animals)
in cupped hands; broke morning’s
skin of ice on the pond, frost lattice
on curled brown leaves, trees’
combustions slowing, slowing … banking,
buffeted by invisible knots of air,
leaning toward fall to earth
yet held, seated, tiny railroad ties stitch
the steel gleam ribbon, gyro steadies and
compass floats; this noise-drilling metal bird
is not there to the moccasin’d man
making his fire and hearing the high
southwestward honkers,
their talk to each other a talk to him,
his pause there and sadness, the summer

is gone. Another summer is gone.



William Gilson

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