Father’s Esker

30 Jul

We live on an esker, you used to say,
Tossing rocks out of the garden.
Frost and the tiller brought them up.
You planted peas as early as late April,
The muddy days of sugaring done,
Snow having quit even the woods by then.
Only dying ice remained.

***

Running trails in spring at the reservoir
I find a rocky outcrop still iced over
And kneel beside the thawing, listen
Down among the roots and mosses,
Tell myself to not forget and tell the kids
How a glacial brook deposited the low rocky ridge
Where I grew up and came to know the verse
Of water in the woods. I follow a creek
Down to the lake, but do not risk
The worn and tarnished piece of silver.

***

At the cemetery in summer,
We cut away sod around your marker,
Edge it with gravel from a nearby quarry.
Look at these greens and purples!
Ages those rocks lay hid by the glacier
That ploughed this valley. (I know,
You know all this.) What I mean is,
The earth looks like a different planet when
A steady presence won’t be back forever.

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2 Responses to “Father’s Esker”

  1. restorel66 July 31, 2015 at 9:44 am #

    John, I love this, and I’ve loved talking about it with you as you’ve worked on it. Love you, Mom

    • restorel66 August 2, 2015 at 5:30 pm #

      Mom,
      thanks so much for taking the time to comment. It means a lot. I was telling Steve Ruddell on Saturday that you and i have had some good conversations about dad and our grief around my poems. Thanks for being interested, asking questions, and encouraging me to continue writing.

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