Weed-wrack and wild grape
                                                       hanging from the dusty trees
that touch above the narrow road.
                                                       I’m driving my way back

—rough passage over gravel—
                                                       back the slow miles over
the creek, the lapsed meadow
                                                       we walked for arrow points

until the road narrows to path.
                                                       I park the car.  I pick my step          
past rusty barbed wire through
                                                       a clearing to the house.

Back the house. Back the years.
                                                      Back with him now with me
over broken floorboards,     
                                                      stone footers, the pot stove— 

a whippoorwill, years distant
                                                      through the paneless frames.
Half a staircase leading up
                                                      over the century of beams. 

Back now again the old road
                                                      disappearing through white woods,
where he lay down and breathed
                                                      no more.


Copyright © 2019 by David Baker. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on December 11, 2019, by the Academy of American Poets.