A conga line of quail scuttles
across the blacktop as I jog down
the road, spine jarred in rhythm
to my measured gait. The mallard,
accustomed to my footpats, drifts
down the irrigation ditch, no longer
a watchdog who urges his mate
to flap away.
The partially dissected house demands
daily observation. Cut-away, only back
and one side wall are left standing--wind-weathered
ribs and spine, an autopsy in arrest.
The refrigerator has been left, door agape
to receive the contents of grocery sacks.
Blackberry vines cloak the skeleton
in a brambled body bag. They climb,
the seasons at their disposal;
the shell will be shrouded
within the millennium, sanctuary
for the covey.
April 6, 2000
Revised April, 2001 & August, 2002
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