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Note to Erin from the Hathaway Preserve, Wabash, Indiana, a poem by James Owens




Note to Erin from the Hathaway Preserve, Wabash, Indiana

I walk alone today. Near the best raspberries,

a doe crashes off into mossy shade.  

Here, we met two farm dogs who loved us. 

Here, you left a handful of crackers so the sick, 

tottering possum would not die cold in the belly. 

Here, a blacksnake swam over the limestone stream bed,

a true and dark idea in a clear mind.

Now, flakes of eight-minute-old sunlight fall

through palm-sized gaps in the canopy of leaves, 

reflect off ripples and back up, onto the leaves' 

ribbed undersides, pulsing like pale, 

banked embers, exactly this far from the sun.

James Owens's newest book is Family Portrait with Scythe (Bottom Dog Press, 2020). His poems and translations appear widely in literary journals, including recent or upcoming publications in Grain, Dalhousie Review, Presence, Queen's Quarterly, and Honest Ulsterman. Originally from Virginia, he lived in Indiana from 2003-18, and now writes in a small town in northern Ontario.