Voices on the Wind Memorable Voices
Lament by Mark Vogel Entrenched in his porch recliner he looked down the valley as the guardian, the first scout, the keeper of the road surrounded by his handiworkóbird feeders cut from milk cartons, split and stacked wood ready for the fire, saved seed varieties in jars ready to marry dirt. With his restless plans, he was ready: Got six hundred strawberries you can dig come spring. He remembered times to collect cressy greens and huckleberries/ witch hazel leaves and walnuts, as if he was born flannel dressed for work, with cloddy shoes and ancient hat, up since five with tools in hand moving, seeking jobs to be done on a restless road. O hell, like a dark November cloud announcing winter, nothing is balanced when loving Roy has stumbled away, finally unable to talk, despite a thousand stories of what was. Maddening stark truth that he died in breezy morning, for what will happen to the raspberries and apple trees/the currants just growing mature/the lime-green water cress when no one notices? Who will fight weeds, and who but Roy in rich July will see the red salamander in the rose quartz rich creek, or know cowbirds as pesky friends who eat his blueberries? Who with endless patience will out wait the heron? What neighbor will replace the quiet coda when a visit ends: come back down, now silenced. Though I still feel him shuffling this way, smiling, his absence is palpable presence/ as real as a boulder carried in the stream, or his garden still growing, though the caretaker has disappeared.