Because I have known many women
Who are dead, I try to think of fields
As holy places. Whether we plow them
Or let them to weeds and sunlight,
Those are the best places for grief,
If only that they perform the peace
We come to, the feeling without fingers,
The hearing without ears, the seeing
Without eyes. Isn’t heaven just this
Unbearable presence under leaves?
I had thought so. I had believed
At times in a meadow and at other
Times in a wood where we’d emerge
No longer ourselves, but reduced
To many small things that we could
Not presume to know, except as my
Friend’s wife begins to disappear,
He feels no solvent in all the earth,
And me, far off, still amateur at grief.
Walking the creek behind the house,
I cross to the old homeplace, find
A scattering of chimney rocks, the
Seeds my grandmother watered, the
Human lifetime of middle-aged trees.