It's Gone

It’s raining in Oxford County as we circle Lake Pennesewasee
on “Around the Pond Road,” near my wife’s once unhappy home.
At a tiny cemetery, she photographs the graves of boys, one and seven
years. I imagine a rucksack couple arriving today, seeing a lake,
an empty brick farmhouse above, deciding this is the place to begin.

At five we go to Beal Street Convenient Living Retirement Home
to take Grammy Goodwin to dinner on her 83rd birthday.
From the Lewiston Sun Journal she has clipped a photo:
my wife’s alcoholic, bi-polar sister with other assistant managers
at the opening of the new Save-a-Lot grocery in South Paris.

After the restaurant, sadly out of grape-nut pudding, I slow down
by her former house to search for a weeping willow she’d planted.
It’s gone, she says, so we drive to West Paris for mountains at dusk,
say good bye at the Home after dark and leave for South Portland.

The new section of Rte. 26 skirts Shaker Village like an urban beltway,
shiny reflectors giving runway glow to unblemished black tar.
Some slow day we’ll go back to the old road in search of reunion

lonesome for a Grange Hall by Sabbathday Lake where I’ve yet
to swim at the town beach, pretending to be local before continuing
West to hills where this summer so many old farms are up for sale.

:: Kevin Sweeney, in Wolf Moon Journal (2006)

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