On Race Road

On the day she died, not knowing
this would be the day,
he coaxed her outside and they worked
around the two tall pines that leaned
the same way, that stood
near each other like twins. They put
an S-curve of large rounded rocks
at the base of one tree, looped
the rocks in lessening size as they
rounded the other tree. A rusty length
of salvaged boat chain
completed the curve, as though to say
something about how the man-made
was merely part of what
had always been there: the gray rocks
from the nearby beach, the driftwood
shaped like plowshares
and lightning, turning white among
the new rhododendrons. In the lagoon
in front of their house,
a foursome of hooded mergansers,
a lone heron backlit in late silver light,
a kingfisher hovering then
plunging, but too far to confirm if it had
caught anything. Because kingfishers
keep in pairs, when she
found one dead from having flown into
a window, she knew the other would
come looking, which it did.
This was not a metaphor for anything,
but simple fact. The fact of water,
grass, trees, houses, cells, blood.
The fact of a last day’s work, then
the start of dying. The fact of what one
intends, and what happens.
The bird calling and calling and calling.

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