Where I Live
is vertical: garden, pond, uphill pasture, run-in shed. Through pines, Pumpkin Ridge. Two switchbacks down church spire, spit of town. Where I climb I inspect the peas, cadets erect in lime-capped rows, hear hammer blows as pileateds peck the rot of shagbark hickories enlarging last year's pterodactyl nests. Granite erratics humped like bears dot the outermost pasture where in tall grass clots of ovoid scat butternut-size, milky brown announce our halfgrown moose padded past into the forest to nibble beech tree sprouts. Wake-robin trillium in dapple-shade. Violets, landlocked seas I swim in. I used to pick bouquets for her, framed them with leaves. Schmutzige she said, holding me close to scrub my streaky face. Almost from here I touch my mother's death.
From Where I Live by Maxine Kumin. Copyright © 2010 by Maxine Kumin. Used by permission of W. W. Norton.