Early spring went to the novel and late spring to the 50-page summer calendar. My weekly magazine has resumed, and I spent this morning in a sunlit maze of Japanese silk screens. This afternoon, a naturalist looked up peepers’ spring calls online for me with a gray tree frog sitting on his thumb. Tree frogs sit with their feet tucked in, to fit on leaves without overhanging.
We sat on their porch, and you held my hands.
We sat on the floor on Easter weekend.
And I was shaking, not from the cold
we get in the hills, even in July,
because I could have lost what I was building.
Twenty-one friends eating chocolate downstairs
at the farm where we rode together as teenagers,
and we were talking novels eye to eye.
Inside they washed dishes and piled old corn cobs.
I had had this work barely six months.
If she takes it, I said, she will not know
or care what she has taken from me.
Mills and fires and jubilations
I want to give you — after all this time
as close colleagues as we ever were
in stables, mucking stalls and singing Graceland,
as close as I felt the day you married
in a New England tavern with mango rice,
thirty years of friendship in one warm rain,
and we fed apples to the horses next door
from the porch table under crimson stars —
You have saved your fields twice and lost far more
than I have ever built, and still you hold me.