the morning is cold and moody. it hails and rains and glows in a muted marigold.

this is an evergreen town,
though the hemlock sweeping
up the hillside has gone
to brown. at the hunger
of a worm, maybe
a beetle.

this is a town of mountains
that masquerade as hill.
let’s walk up the hill, up
to where our lungs burn
and our nose runs with the alpine wind.

up the hill
through the evergreens.
sleeping bear hidden,
waking bear hidden.
down in the town,
we can’t keep
ourselves from opulent
waste. brown bear
unhidden.

this is not a town for ivy
and the only league worth
mentioning, relates to
a rarely used form of measurement.
yet still there is ivy,
clinging like barnacles.
well-washed and
certainly well-intentioned,
dressed in wool and smiling
in photos with fish.

i made cheese for years
at a farm in Vermont.
people ooooh’d and aaahh’d
at the romantic image of
rolling lakeside farm,
raw brown swiss cow’s milk,
elbows peeking out
from warm yellow whey.
most people did not know
that my main job as
a cheesemaker
was that of a dish washer
and manual laborer.
most people,
clean skinned yet wearing
the name of a plant with pride,
think it cute to don wool and rubber,
go out and gaff a salmon,
and then home to hot shower
and summer family vacations overseas.

this town is under sea.
100 year old boats,
barely float upon it,
unadorned with anything
other than years of scale
and leagues of faded paint.
but still, they float.
hemlock has gone brown
on the hillside mountain,
but still it always comes back
green. with enough
repetitions, maybe
lungs will cease their burn,
and maybe ivy will lose
its air of exclusivity,
freeing itself from caste.

this town is for evergreen
and for brown bear.
it is for ivy and for wooden
boat, rotting into the harbor.
this town never was for me,
yet here i am.

Published by Zak

an intertidal island in an ocean of impermanence.

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