The Barn on Barkley Road
The fog slides off the hills
into the plain of the French Broad:
it obscures the waking world
presses down on the roofs of the barns
drifts through the fragile fences
gathers over the black river
pulling the world down to itself.
The wires that soar from pole to pole
trail away like fading thoughts.
I cherish this narrow world
where small things become large:
the curve of the road as it follows the river
the withered, dew-wet corn;
farm machines adrift in the fields;
at the houses, fading pickups
clustered like hungry cattle.
The white lines of the sycamore
faint lightning on the river.
And we too have narrowed
to vanishing days and weeks:
your voice down the hall, its music
giving me hope; and the loved voices
over the wires that hold and join
that expanding firmament
of the lives we made together.
But mainly us, now, in close-up:
the quiet presence of your breathing
your hands at rest on a white table,
testimony to all you’ve done.
Your eyes, blue as the seen sky.
The world, so bright with danger
we witness and recall, while we can.