‘Desire Lines’

This is a revised version of a poem of the season from my second full-length collection of poems, “Middle Distance,” published in 1989. The setting is drawn from the view across fields in Dracut, off Mammoth Road looking toward Lakeview Avenue.–PM


Desire Lines


At Runaway Hill, where a horse broke wild,  flinging a preacher down the slope,

a stone wall bridges a pair of trees and divides a field, one side thick green, the other sunburnt.

Meadows littered with glacial debris are full of goat brush and vines that made blackberry jam.

Pines and apple trees grip the earth, alive with Christmasy laurel.

Past rows of corn stubble, past crow woods where yellow maples and October oaks burned,

birds scatter above farm land. Pigs, the color of soot and cotton, rub noses on the gnawed turf.

Returning later in the year, I see blond weeds poking through snow scraps,

patches in shadows near rusted scraggly firs and stands of birch, round as my wrist.

Laced together by threadbare windbreaks, the fields open onto beaver flats.

The long view shows marsh up to the high school gym, and, beyond its aqua panels,

my first neighborhood, where my face was the center of the center of the universe,

and then way off, dim blue hills, far from the space of my past.

I like to stand on this rise and look out, look back, look long into where I was,

trying to imagine where I’ll be looking back from later.


—Paul Marion (c) 1989

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