Birches in November
None have been swung here along route two
in the Berkshires. Maybe the boys all sit inside
not up to but on their own devices, and the girls
have never flipped and sunned their wet tresses
after shampoo but make do with blow dryers.
And yet we do see birches, are struck with seeing them,
standing so erect in stands, so bright white and slim,
so many skinny fingers reaching up at higher treetops.
Such a cold light they reflect, as does the Golden Eagle
on the hairpin turn, a U-ie so sharp, it’s a “V.”
I like to think then of when we rode the train
through Altoona and the conductor woke us
to see ourselves coming and going at the same time,
which is what we all are doing every minute,
what we do today, heading for a funeral in Fitchburg,
then turning around tonight, toward Youngstown for Thanksgiving.
After 40 years away, Diane Kendig has moved into the home her father built with his own hands in Canton, Ohio in 1947. She has published five poetry collections, most recently Prison Terms. Co-editor of In the Company of Russell Atkins, Kendig founded the prison writing program at Lima Correctional Institution and now curates a blog of 4,000 subscribers, “Read + Write: 30 Days of Poetry” for National Poetry Month. Her website is dianekendig.com