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Dodging a Black Pickup with
a Green Mountain Wedding

So we better get to it:

because there’s a black pick-up up the mountain,

forgotten and sunken on the side of the old state

forest road. One day, I think it’s going to roll down that hill,

through this sacred Green Mountain state.

But tonight, it’s late summer, full of cicadas

and tree frogs, throttling September to autumn.

They are wedding the night, the next day,

the years just for you, tapping disparate maples

into a single lifeline, sowing for you wild fireweed all

over New England, plowing snow off the back

road for you to pass, seasoning the fire wood.

So we better get to it, where we are,

as men and women, going far.


Yet in Vermont, sorry to say, nothing

is straight. The kitchen clock crooks to the right

and circles back. The farmhouse floorboards swell

to the left. Kids break themselves over you.

Mountaintops poise and heave with the will

of difficult rock—but above us still, the Milky Way,

that mysterious mess, spins easily by

the eternal black pick up. Well let it

come rolling down when it does.

Like a contradanse call, we can have

feet stomping in a cosmic romp

of fiddle, or moves we make to guitar

and mandolin and penny whistle,

As men and women, dancing far.


It’s easy as a pine tree in granite

to live together here. There’s nothing to it.  

Just make a little room in a tight spot,

like this epithalamion—a poem for bride and groom.

But in Vermont. you’re better off using poems as tinder

in a stubborn iron wood stove. Stoke a little black hot

fire box of universe with them. Poke it! Tend it! Love

the mad work of staying warm in winter or cool in summer

or quiet in thought. Kibitz and accept whatever is and is not. 

In squalls, in droughts, blizzards of burden, join the stars,

open the roads, crimp the roofs!

Marry them! Marry them! Marry them!

So we better get to it, where we are,

as man and woman, going far.

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