Voices on the Wind
Voices on Aging
The smell of work shoes on the rickety porch
by Mark Vogel
The wood frame house sprawled old world roots,
with wounded work shoes, never-fit-for-the-dance,
still carrying earth from barns, gardens, woods.
The smells of ancient work fit beside potatoes
growing in a wooden box, alongside scuffed possessions
of relatives living and dead, a humming freezer,
a peach basket filled with rags. Above a root cellar
shelving decade old elderberry wine,
a hundred jars of white beans and kraut, cherries
swimming pale in juice us kids forever saw as blood.
Inside the house sounds of cooking competed with
guttural throat clearing, bits of scripture.
Down the hall-way lived a framed black and white
history of the origins. Outside, beyond the porch,
chickens skittered before speckled shit on
the concrete path that led to pigs busy with scraps.
More than once I slipped out to meet the dog,
so together in the orchard and the woods stretching on,
we could be wild, oblivious to a future. Unaware
a chimney fire would burn the house to dust,
so even the shoes melded with winter bleak.
In our youth, we couldn’t believe permanence
would ever not be permanent. That survivors
would immediately rebuild, and go on,
preferring not to look back.