Those seven acres at the end of my street
Were the remnants of a farm.
The trimmed lawns of the last houses
Abutted wild growth
A wall of hickory and sycamore and beneath that
Sumac sunk in waved canopies of grapevines and honeysuckle.
It never occured to me to consider why that land was never cleared
The woods were always there, just like the houses
The same, everyday of my life; I never wondered why.
I roamed deeply there and discovered
Evidence of deliberate use, generations ago
A rusted hook and chain wrapped around an oak
Its links thick as a child’s finger
Now nearly swallowed by the expanding trunk
I tried to imagine some use for it
Is this where they hung the hogs or steers after slaughter?
On one side of the hill there had been an orchard
Raggedy, dwarfed apple trees
Still here and there, some semblance in places
Of the original lines.
And between them thick brambles
Where the Brown Thrashers lived in that day
Calling wildly to the night and to each other
In a tongue that is no longer heard.