Brian Simoneau

Rusted chainlink rising from tall grass, mud
            crunching underfoot, the bluster dying down

divulging the rush of highway from below—this is no mountain,
            that no valley. But still something up here's

required, requires uncontracted time to cast about,
            feet unattached from the path, to wander

windswept granite, cores exposed,
            hilltops weather-undressed, time to watch, to rest:


contact, confluence of stone and flesh, matching contours
            of bedrock and backside, the body's

ability to shape itself, shift its limits and puzzle-piece
            with the ground, ground itself, be grounded

against solid rock, bedrock found, foundation felt
            as principle of living on this earth where what we get

is hardly the world we expect, every
            earthly encounter not exactly what we wish for.


So low it gives small warmth the sun
            shines back from the skyline, coppers the wrinkled

harbor. Flights sliding out of Logan silent from here,
            every contrail a cloud that fails to fill the sky

and so dissolves the way this season slips away—
            sugar maple with its last flags, puritan brown

of oak rooted to this landscape in ways we can't
            recall, comprehend, reclaim. But still longing lingers:


to settle, set the feet deep in the duff, sink
            through dirt down to bedrock, the hard bottom, to be

as seasons spirit themselves around me, assume
            my every atom, some transition, transformation,

some threshold trying to slip itself past, catch me
            unaware, unready, resting my eyes, taking a breath.


There's snow on the way, its offer of erasure,
            oblivion, newness in nothingness, utter unfamiliarity,

more inviting than resurrection blossoms of spring, rebirth
            overrated, the regular repetition of it, unthinking

reiteration, reification of past actions, accentuation of what came                    
            before and comes again and again, again and again.


What we get is almost always the willow, always
            the cherry blossom, tulips splitting soil in the same

furrowed space, each spring a palimpsest
            of every other, hardly ever what we wish for:

the bare branch,
            blank page, unwritten word, unturned earth.






The Blue Hills Reservation is a state park just south of Boston. When I moved here after several years on the West Coast, I struggled to settle in. I tried to spend as much time as possible walking in the woods. I also spent a lot of time rereading Thoreau. He makes an appearance in my poem. So do Walt Whitman and William Carlos Williams. I've been here almost five years now. I still struggle.