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In the Tangled Wood

Through Norway maples, burning bush, and unnamed shrubbery,

See, from a rear window in our homespun HOA,

The great embankment of the Norfolk Southern causeway,

Handiwork of slaves an age before our day.

Trains drawing Intermodal concatenations to expectant railway stations

In winter entertain the sophisticated graffiti-liking eye.

Beyond the track, a building of an orange-yellow hue

That might have been painted by Vermeer, were he here and had the will,

sits now in April among trees, creepers, ivy, and kudzu.

In mystic light this time of day, late afternoon,

the sun drafts gloaming with immemorial skill,


A tangled crepuscular work of art I prize above the self-selected verse

Of worldling poets—my own, naturally, the first.

That illustrator (omitting whatever's shameful and accursed)

Sun will shine here still after we're all toast

And left with merely giving up the ghost:

A thought that seems to me redemptive more than most.

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