Where I Live

I live by the stream, by the old dam tumbled  into a fit of rocks.
Through the path we made, past Royal and Long Beech fern,
small huddles of baby oaks, sting of raspberry, a clutch of young pines,

I step onto the mown lawn, jumble of grass and weeds,
dandelion blades, fuzzy camomile, a scatter of gravel spilled by workers
building the garden wall, rocks as hard put as memory and more lasting.

I live in a house built from ground that Charlie cleared, just beside
the knot of spruce, needles falling, a constant rain of thin slices of life

that hide themselves in the grooves of my car, grow into clumps 
around the motor like small nests. I live on Oak Hill Road, though the oaks 
have grown thin and too many hills rise up to tell which is the one named. 

On weekends the train whistle blows, up at City Point, where the tracks 
cross the road and the walking path comes out after following the river from town. 
I see the stain the tide makes on the edge, a ceaseless coming and going—
dog walkers, joggers, bicyclists jamming along the old rail bed. 

In winter I stare at the frozen waterfall, bare branches, footprints 
caught hard in solid snow. I live in a world of snow, a place of blizzards 
and white-coated nests, of lines cut parallel through new snow, of white-outs, 
and power-outages, of lanterns, wood stoves and the thumping of generators 

in the shed outside. I watch the ospreys circle the stream, the eagle dive, 
the fish hang caught in beak, see the carcass of porcupine smashed on the shoulder, 
blood  smeared in tire tracks. At night cars slide by on the way to town,

to Belfast Variety, to beer, to milk, to wine, to the parking lot 
on the corner of Bridge and Pierce Streets where the young
gather, laughter a blanket of waves, an ocean, bandying curses and cuts,
tender limbs, cooled in the breeze, kisses touched on love-struck necks.

Naugatuck River Review
Issue 19   Winter/Spring 2018