Winter 1989 • Vol. XI No. 1 PoetryJanuary 1, 1989 |

Witness

Because he'd lost all knack or love for words, All patience with gossip and his usual crew, He drove out where he'd once bought half a cord Of maple for his stove. He didn't know Who owned the padlocked cabin where he stopped, After an hour's hard walking. Like Thoreau, Smug and misanthropic on the stoop, He hunkered, felt his mind's bleak edge of light, A knife's worn blade, grow blunt as the sun dropped, Until he hardly cared if it was a trick of sight Or of desire that brought her there among the trees To stand, silent. "Look in your heart and write," He'd hoped to hear, then felt abashed, relieved When no sound came except the wind. She turned. He saw her face, which he'd thought young, was creased, Dappled as with low firelight, strict, windburnt, And her unbound hair was gray. Then she was gone, Was never there, he knew. But still he'd learned The details of that logging road, drove down Next weekend, found the cabin windows smashed, A woman's sodden de

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