The boards do not touch at the peak of the spacious sugarhouse
sunlight pours though gaps in the wall 
Steam rises from the evaporator 
past a single wire 
that holds two bare light bulbs

Two men

The older  
his tan fedora cocked to the side 
forearms clothed in wool 
his hands in leather gloves
perches on the edge of a sofa covered with a stained canvas tarp

The younger 
stands behind the evaporator
his foot resting on an overturned sap bucket
his back to a stacks of dozens more

A quilted red coat and red wool cap with flaps ward off the chill 

Fortune Teller

 I found the fortune teller 
 at the foot of the unnamed mountains to the east

 Claiming to cast spells and read palms
 she wanted gold shells for payment 
 but all I had was a worn copy of The Sun Also Rises

 Along the road I saw a man
 his oiler’s cap was tilted at a jaunty angle
 a Purple Water vanity kit rattled in his pocket

 As I looked for fresh fonts
 and teenage angst
 he walked past me into the young sunlight 



You’re Still Teaching Me


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).
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
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