We are each just out of high school,
      working the midnight shift,
      getting by on black beauties
      from the truck drivers we wait on.
      Bobbi tells of a forest of high trees
      behind the octagon farmhouse:
      The most peaceful place I’ve ever seen, she says.
      I nod my head, pour coffee, wonder
      where I will find sleep.
      Before the day shift arrives,
      Bobbi offers me the job
      of mopping bathrooms
      so I can shut the door,
      sit on the edge of the stool, and doze.
      Bobbi’s voice, a smoker’s rasp to it
      even then, barks from the dining room:
      I have to take you there.
      I nod in half sleep,
      stay leaning against the wall
      just long enough to dream.

      Down stony back roads at first light,
      the dark gold of October,
      a color you never get used to
      no matter how many autumns you live.
      Cows stand in low fog
      beside the octagon house.
      We move from behind tractor
      to plow to combine,
      tiptoeing like vaudevillians.
      We walk into a low orange sunrise
      through back acres of beaten-down cornstalks.
      It is as she said. A hillside pine forest,
      as holy as a temple. We enter it
      speechless. Shafts of young dusty light
      tumble down from treetops.
      We walk in separate directions.

      The sun crawls up the back of the forest.
      Bobbi is sprawled on a broad gray rock
      as if it were her own island.
      She watches the light beams, quiet
      for the first time since I have known her.
      I hold back from touching
      a perfect spider web on a low branch,
      happy to watch the spider
      string its life along behind it.
      A wild song fills my head,
      I nod with the bobbing spider.