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Billy Reynolds

My Father from the Yard with the Maple


Come back with what’s left of the light giving you
an earful, with the gray dusk of the one maple left that you

didn’t have to have cut down, with a few of those solid crows
with their nudge and push and pears falling, and the crows    

already there eating your company before it gets too dark,
or the crows already gone, forgotten, even before it’s dark.

You will stand with the old life an almost invisible fragment,
the new life dark as a tree in the same old breath of a place.

Of the two trees left, one is a pear and the other a silver maple
or soft maple, the softest wood of all the maples.

It did not take a shining to the tight clay of North Alabama,
so the driveway heaved and sighed as you did all your life for Mississippi.

If you come back you will miss the other trees you had cut down.
If you come back, maybe there will be time to lie down

in the short grass and feel small or to walk away from the house
to the edge of the yard while someone calls your name inside.

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