A Place of No Substance
Come with me
past the old barn
that’s no longer there
and descend the sloped corral
now a field of weeds
into the gully dredged deep by time.
Gaze up the opposite slope:
there we scrabble past badger holes and
cat-steps fixed in dirt by broomsedge,
foxtail, and bluebell roots
not even time’s deluge can dislodge
to a ledge that tops the slope, and pause:
glance backward past the phantom barn,
the faded farmyard ghosts of granary,
chicken coop and weary clapboard house
all no longer there
to see what time can take away
and—in this ledge you stand before—
what it cannot.
Stoop low, leveling your eye to this
opening to an improbable,
sun-drenched cavern extending
endlessly on a palette of multi-hued,
simply wonder that a place possessing
no terra firma
through an old man’s lifetime can persist,
insisting on itself and its brilliance
which the devilish twins time and death
envy from their fruitless domains.
Darrell Petska is a retired university editor. His poetry and fiction can be found in 3rd Wednesday Magazine, First Literary Review–East, Nixes Mate Review, Verse Virtual and widely elsewhere (conservancies.wordpress.com). A father of five and grandfather of six, he lives near Madison, Wisconsin, with his wife of more than 50 years.