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September 2015, vol 11 no 3

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Bill Gottlieb

Maybe Tomorrow
Boggs Lake Preserve, after grief counseling

I walk below the oak and pine of the Preserve, their trunks like columns composed of the past, rings wearing rings, married to time.

We were here. By the ushering branches on the ground to the sides of the trail. By the lichen-coated rocks, so comfortable to sit on, and so not. By the vernal lake, the lake that fades away after a rainy winter, where, in seasons of seared, stubbly grass, you took so many photographs of your shadow, your sun-given second body, dying in dying light.

I stand at the end of the pier, reeds crowding around my face like old friends. Our other acquaintances are gone – blackbird and mallard, coot and grebe – and the only sound I hear on this still, hot September afternoon is constant, high and thin, the knell the brain tolls for itself. Then one acorn woodpecker hammers the air, and the wind rises in a ruffling flurry, and the reeds nod, summer's elders, easy with a day, this day, yesterday, maybe tomorrow.

your wants sometimes went right
over my head