From my doorstep the foothills roll away and up
to a broken ridge and signed stone that marks the end
of a piece of land a man put his name to years ago.
The hawks float lazy as kites over the wide-eyed
field mice desperately concerned with their life
between the burrows and the gone-dry creek.
Grasshoppers haunt the hedgerows, the tadpole pond.
Morning cows make their way down to the near fence
and wait patiently for the apples they know
I will toss them, casually as I have all summer.
This is why I came here, in part, why I stay.

At night sometimes, not often but at night, I find
my way up the lower hills, near the ridge, high
enough at least to recognize the faint light
of the train station, the bus depot,
the room I occupy a mile away, fragile
and flickering as though it were candle-lit.

The grass is cold but the earth itself warm enough
to hold me for an hour or so, humming quietly
all the songs I know or know part of, making my own
ceremony, as close to faith as I can bring myself.
For a little time finding myself restored and whole
again among the quilted, luminous hills, above
the town full of cares and promises easily broken.
Content enough to be in the company of my neighbors;
the hawks, the field mice, the sleeping land,
the man who saw it, perhaps for the first time
and marked the place with a stone for me to find
and signed it with his name as a friend would.