“First Morning in Town,” “Lake House,” and “Trail That Has No Name”

Photo by Randy Fath on Unsplash

First Morning in Town

In the morning,

I edge my Saturn past

the horse carriage.

I hear the hoofs clack

over the sound

of my engine.

I’m new here,

and new to horses,

so my foot hovers

near the brake.

When I get to the grocery

I can’t see through

the frosting glass

if people are wearing

masks inside or not.

I fish one out

of my pocket

and take a moment

to watch raspberry

dawn coming through

winter trees.

Lake House

It’s strange how foundations shrink

once the structure of a house is gone,

its bulk not looming over you,

or so you think standing on the concrete

that used to lie hidden under floorboards

next to Lake Chautauqua.

The visitor’s sign tells you

this used to be the mansion for a man

with enough money to buy a second castle

as though a place gains significance

once the rich have lost it.

Now all that remains is what was buried

under his opulence before,

and you and your wife talk

about how small it is

now that furniture and walls are gone.

Trail that Has No Name

That trail the dog

and I cut into the forest

for the five years we lived here,

that we walked everyday for the isolation,

is gone when I return fifteen years later,

drawn back into the earth

as my walking friend has been as well.

I will be there soon enough,

but for now, there is the joy

in the memory buried in these hills.

About the Author

John Brantingham

John Brantingham was Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks’ first poet laureate. His work has been featured in hundreds of magazines. He has twenty-one books of poetry, memoir, and fiction including his latest, Life: Orange to Pear (Bamboo Dart Press) and Kitkitdizzi (Bamboo Dart Press). He lives in Jamestown, New York.