by Jane Augustine


. .



Chilled gray sky lowers
            over the valley, and the mind
feels shutdown, mildly suffers.

Weather's not to be correllated
            with the personal: this diamond
intellect - anyone's - wakens

flash! like that, whatever
            light plays on it. Why
then this imagining of lessened

hearing, seeing? An inner scene
            crowds characters onstage,
who nag, rebut and disappear

a moment. Must write a letter,
            telephone, placate
them, hunch over the desk

indoors, keep after evasive
            freedom not obtained
by just this pursuit.
                                  The view

from the front window
            is blocked by the same
near-by pine, green a day or two ago.


Pine needles settle over
the old stones, the nameless ones:

incomplete families
behind a picket fence, birthdate

incised in marble. No death
yet for a wife not visiting

a husband's grave on Sunday.
Here no chiselled deathdate

for Floye Smith, who, speechless,
strapped down, died March 6, 1987,

in a nursing home, her ashes not
here beside her suicide son's

despite her carved name waitingó

              So much for plans.

                                                So do I want
a northerly corner here
between a cracked red sandstone

marker, weather-shattered,
and the Adams child?

It's not important, just somewhere
someone might visit.
                                                I place two

fallen pine branches and five pine cones
at Floye's blank headstone,

having forgotten to bring flowers.

Copyright © 2004 by Jane Augustine
Jane Augustine: Arbor Vitae
Marsh Hawk Press
New York
Copyright © 2002, Jane Augustine This is a cooperative presentation by
The Institute of Broken and Reduced Languages
And Light and Dust Anthology of Poetry.