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Echoes in Winter Woods




Bringing it All Back Home

Side 1, Track 2


She’s got everything she needs

She’s an artist, she don’t look back


Early morning in our warm marriage bed, sun breaking through the pines

on the east side of the mountain, maybe more to the point the western frontier of what is now a long life as I stare up at a spider web on the ceiling, another day in this primeval forest to wonder What do I need? which suddenly seems a smug question, one teachers, shrinks, accountants like to ask, but goes whoosh right out of my head when I rouse myself

to the bathroom, which is not to say


it’s not a good question—right, I caught it,

double negative—but these November

mornings, when I can see my breath

in the air walking out the mudroom door


to the truck, I’m thinking we need more

of them in our lives, double negatives,

that is, something poets and musicians

seem to understand between breaths


or this morning the four miles between

home and the first sip of coffee in town,

something mothers get but rarely fathers,

who must learn over and over again


that Occam’s Razor is more likely to slit

your throat than create a smooth shave,

so I’m sticking out my neck here to confess

I was listening to Dylan sing like a Sphinx


on my way home this morning, but after

making the left onto this dead end road,

cliffs ahead, I turned off the volume, figuring

it’s not nothing I’ll ever need anytime soon.


—SL, New Paltz, NY, Nov. 2022


***

Bringing it All Back Home

Side 1, Track 5


Ain't it hard to stumble And land in some funny lagoon?


Lying in our warm marriage bed

Patti and I hear two packs of coyotes

howling in the woods, some cryptic


conversation we can't decipher

as we turn our books face down

on the quilt and I pivot off the bed


to lift the double hung window, one

pack way down across the stream,

up the grassy rise, the other in a swampy


swale off the lawn where I imagine

myself among them, standing in the lungs

of the forest, shivering in shorts and t-shirt,


my neck craned back as a high-pitched

yawp gets stuck in my dream throat

until morning, clouds of howling words


floating out of my mouth, warning enemies

to stay away, telling my love where to find me,

an endless poem echoing through my days.


—SL, New Paltz, NY, Dec. 2022


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