1999 When I was younger, I would think I don’t learn neat things from you like my friends from their dads. I didn’t learn to hunt, ride a snowmobile, or fix a car. I wondered how you knew about fixing things around the house. How was I going to remember it all? Why didn’t you know how to fix a car, or hunt? How I wished you did. Years later, I don’t like to hunt, ride snowmobiles or fix up cars. I like to build porches, talk about landscaping, how to unclog pipes. You let me to learn from my mistakes, to find my way, offering guidance even when I didn’t listen (I learned my stubbornness from you too). 2021 I have two boys of my own. You’d be eighty-one this year, but you’ve been gone for nine. I miss talking to you. But you’re still teaching me.
One: Inbound Waiting for the 10:30 train on a tiled alcove bench a sticky puddle below my feet A Budweiser can in a brown bag discarded in the corner presumably in resentment for being empty Words within the bricked floor trampled by millions seen by few Inbound Gripping the pole shoulder to shoulder swaying gently the clack and clatter the murmur of voices A child in a silver moon coat learning the stops preoccupied by curiosity Two: After Library Square The child stares past the last row of magazines at the people sitting in far corners A man in a blue poncho naps in front of the gas fireplace his bundle of possessions beside him on the floor A man in a supple leather chair reads a book, more books stacked at his feet his shoulders tense A man with matted hair and beard catches her eye and smiles as the child’s mother hurries her away
Clouds hang among the mountain tops Desperate to quell this need I have lost track of the days The aspens glow golden in the morning light I long for them to be a beacon
Ejected from sleep by the klaxon alarm I tumble out of bed fumble with layers of clothes slumping against the counter willing the coffee to brew faster Clamber out the door We ride in silence into the approaching dawn nursing steaming mugs driving a little faster to make the milk run The chalet is bright and full of noise we stuff feet into plastic boots file outside Stand in the biting cold our breath clinging to red coats impatiently kicking at the snow waiting for the lift to turn Rising with the sun as it reaches out to touch the walls of the notch and Mansfield’s nose beyond First tracks a moment of silence before the mountain opens