It is always the dispossessed— someone driving a huge rusted Dodge that’s burning oil, and must cost twenty-five dollars to fill. Today before seven I saw, through the morning fog, his car leave the road, turning into the field. It must be his day off, I thought, or he’s out of work and drinking, or getting stoned. Or maybe as much as anything he wanted to see where the lane through the hay goes. It goes to the bluff overlooking the lake, where we’ve cleared brush, swept the slippery oak leaves from the path, and tried to destroy the poison ivy that runs over the scrubby, sandy knolls. Sometimes in the evening I’ll hear gunshots or firecrackers. Later a car needing a new muffler backs out to the road, headlights withdrawing from the lowest branches of the pines. Next day I find beer cans, crushed; sometimes a few fish too small to bother cleaning and left on the moss to die; or the leaking latex trace of outdoor love.... Once I found the canvas sling chairs broken up and burned. Whoever laid the fire gathered stones to contain it, like a boy pursuing a merit badge, who has a dream of work, and proper reward for work.
Jane Kenyon, "Private Beach" from Collected Poems. Copyright © 2005 by the Estate of Jane Kenyon. Reprinted with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc., on behalf of Graywolf Press, graywolfpress.org.