Friday, September 18, 2015

Then, the smell of woodsmoke

A Separate Time

In the years since I saw you on Sunday,
I left my home and walked out across the earth
with only my occasional luck and knowledge of cards.

I met men and women constantly dissatisfied,
who hadn't learned to close their hands,
who sewed and patched their few words
fashioning garments they hoped to grow into.

There were winters sheltered in a cabin beneath pines.
There were frozen rivers and animals crazy with hunger.

But always I saw myself walking toward you,
as a drop of water touching the earth immediately
turns toward the sea. Tonight I visit your house.

In the time precious to newspapers and clocks,
only a few days have passed. The room is quiet.

Looking into your eyes, I become like the exile
who turns the corner of the last cliff and suddenly
stares down into the valley of his homeland,
sees the terraced fields and white-roofed houses
grouped on the hillside. Then, the smell of woodsmoke
and a woman calling her husband in for the night.

Stephen Dobyns

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