Swain’s Flat Draft 2

Still trying to distill my mental sketches…. a bit redundant from the previous notes, nonetheless a work in progress….

Inland, the river bends broad and wide,

Giving way to a brief valley.

If you are careful, the soul of this place still lingers

Though it is hidden amongst a scattering of dwellings,

The kinds of dwellings that are added on to over the years

And either gather character, or become ramshackle

If you are not careful.

Wonder through here during the middle of May,

What hasn’t been said of Springtime in the valley?

Warm morning rain, light as a whisper,

Painting flowers across fields between the homes,

And sharpening the songs of birds.

But look closer and see an old tractor here and over there,

Rusted fossils of days when things moved here,

In the space between hard work and lazy sunday afternoons,

When the kids would skip stones across the river.

The metal-sided shop, banged, dented and dulled, surrounded in blackberry vines,

Only kept clear near a single door,

An oil stained opening to more rust, stories and passed toils.

Somewhere, in there, sometime,

Things just stopped,

But the smell of grease still lingers over

The tinge of mice and cobweb.

You don’t have to be careful in August,

The valley, it’s soul, is swallowed whole

By days of relentless sun and heat

That wilts blackberries into tangled, thorny masses

Covering once proud fences,

And soil baked into hard, aching sticker-ridden swaths

That will deny any invitation until the first cheating rain

Of late September.

Sun and heat that buckles metal, peels paint

And forgets the 16 days in May

When the soul of this place was able to pause

And exhale the long breath of relief.

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