On Completing The Jack Pine
There’s a solid truth to this place. I can smell it. I can feel it on my hands, and yet
my eye tricks me. On my left, the shadows seem sharper than I remember, and the sky
is now plum with a wild wind to the north. The way I saw it, it was drenched in blue,
clouds shot through with blood orange, soft yellow-greens. The ink sketch, I know
I got right, the rough lean of it. It bent me way down, out through the branches, a slow
undertow rolling, shifting the canoe, the paint box, my hat blowing over. The Sumac
still hangs out there on the boulders. And the stacks of mountains, a sapphire endurance
piled in on each other. I know Carmichael knew, pretty close, and Fred saw what I saw,
the colors, the layers. Even after his whiskeys, there was always color talk. We could
go on for hours, sun flat on the water, loons in the grasses, the swipe of a kingbird. Deep
is how I think of October, colored deep with its secrets. The talk always came around to
whatever could end it, this beauty, the shadows on the edges always there, watching me,
watching the canoe like a bull moose. His shape almost invisible in the mantle of gold.
Mary Wehner is author of four letterpress chapbooks, as well as several letterpress broadsides published by Red Hydra Press. She was nominated for a Pushcart and was Poet-in-Residence at Penland School of Craft for two sessions. She is published in various journals and anthologies around the country.