No one should be this alone—
none of the pines
in their prepotent verticals,
none of the unseen
hunters or blundering moose
who might stop by the empty lodge or the lake
as blue as if there had never been people
although there are people: a few
at the general store, and evidence of more
in clean vinyl siding, and down the extended street
a ruddy steel pole the height of a child, its plaque
remembering a place called Liberty
at Indian Stream, 1832-35,
between the disputed boundaries
of Canada and New Hampshire, meant
as temporary, almost
content to remain its own.
Each household, their constitution said, could possess
one cow, one hog, one gun,
books, bedding and hay, seven sheep and their wool, secure
from attachment for debt no matter the cause.
The state militia came to set them right.
The legerdemain of the noon sun through needles and leaves,
revealing almost nothing, falls across
thin shadows, thin trace of American wheels and hands
for such high soil and such short reward:
the people... do hereby mutually agree
to form themselves into a body politic
by the name of Indian Stream, and in that capacity
to exercise all the powers of a sovereign
till such time as we can ascertain to what
government we properly belong.
At the Providence Zoo
Like the Beatles arriving from Britain, the egret's descent on the pond takes the reeds and visitors by storm: it is a reconstructed marsh environment, the next best thing to living out your wild life. * Footbridges love the past. And like the Roman questioner who learned "the whole of the Torah while standing on one leg," flamingos are pleased to ignore us. It is not known whether that Roman could learn to eat upside-down, by dragging his tremendous head through streams. * Comical, stately, the newly-watched tortoises mate; one pushes the other over the grass, their hemispheres clicking, on seven legs in toto. Together they make a Sydney opera house, a concatenation of anapests, almost a waltz. * Confined if not preserved, schoolteachers, their charges, vigilant lemurs, wrens and prestidigitating tamarins, and dangerous badgers like dignitaries stare at one another, hot and concave in their inappropriate coats. Having watched a boa eat a rat alive, the shortest child does as she was told? looks up, holds the right hand of the buddy system, and stands, as she explains it, "still as a piece of pie."