The Innisfree Poetry Journal

by Reamy Jansen


for Paul

They were here finally—the nature preserve
sanctuary for birds and all other things living and growing
He had taken the boy to see the sphagnum moss, said to be,
said the sign, three thousand years old, enough
millennia for him and the boy was nine
No sign had to say that it was an Eden   place of continued creation
and protection   deer and beaver ready to pose right out of Hicks
evidence of their being    mossy abandoned antlers and beech chips like
the pond killing and feeding   black as mica in all its fine layers
top one a speckled crisp of ice pierced
by gray pines, stripped ragged by wind and water
and there everywhere on every rocky surface green-gray pats
of the moss ancient and fresh  dabs you could gently lift  being
ordinary and wonderful  as his father before him  who didn’t quite reach
one hundred. The moss couldn’t go anywhere except where
it was. To be stroked gently, affectionately, the coarse
green layers of it, as the boy did saying how soft it really was
He told him moss was used to heal a wound but they seemed to have
no need of that
one thought.
They left then, the boy bearing wood chip trophies as the father took in
the fire tower off a bit and up the road. No one was there this time of year.
Some days later the father stepped onto the porch of
the small cabin in the woods and where days earlier he had
tried to save a porcupine wounded, a small hole seared black
below its growing quills of armor, and he was now
arranging wild flowers in a Maxwell House can when he
saw a wild turkey and then the hunter riding on the hood
of a moving car, heels set on the bumper
bracing the stock of a twelve-gauge on his knee with one hand
the other he held a quart of Jim Beam and
the son at a distance dancing against the field stone wall.

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