The Tarp

The wind spirits come
Racing down the valley,
Filling the spaces between mountains
Dancing through ancient pine tops,
Tickling the thick forests
That ring the bottom pastures,

The currents,
And flows,
And eddies,
Set conifer ranks to waving,
Those trees standing at attention
On steep inclines,
A grand gathering of enthusiastic spectators,
Witness to the athletic prowess
Of empty air,
The roar in their branches
Rivaling any stadium crowd

And then the spirits,
The duendes of the wind,
Find the sheet of brown and silver
That stretches above the trailer,
Woven plastic held by ropes,
And bungees,
And liberal applications
Of fluttering duct tape.

And those airy speed demons
Slide underneath it,
Whooshing between it and the painted metal roof,
That metal that has seen years of weather,
Decades of disuse,
Of misuse,
Unable now to perform its task unaided,

The duendes blow up
Between that tired roof
And its younger care-giver
Making the tarp lift
And billow
Like the sails of a great clipper ship

And supported by them,
The sheet feels

It stretches against its ties
Pulling and ruffling
Within the freedom that’s promised,

And the spirits say to it,
Leave this place
Soar with us among the clouds.”

And the tarp is tempted,
Its every shiny fiber
Longing within torn grommets
And frayed edges,
For the untethered life,

But this isn’t its first wind-race,
The call isn’t new,
And the tarp knows where that future leads,
Painfully aware
Of its luminous blue cousin,
The one who took hold of the wind,
Who was seduced by the call,
Who sailed away,
Only to be caught
By the barbs nearby,
Now trapped,
Left by the duendes to forever ripple
Against the harsh wires of the fence,
Never again to be useful in this world.

The tarp knows
That the spirits are not to blame,
It is their nature,
Their promise is well-meant
But fleeting,
Like themselves.

And, making its decision,
The tarp descends
Releasing its hold on the wind’s fickle gusts,
Once again caressing the roof,
Feeling the pleasant tension of ropes,
The the pull and give of bungees,
The gentle swaying of anchor trees,

And it says to the wind,
This is my place,
I am of service here.”

And, once again,
As always happens
When the wind-races are run,
The tarp turns from the spirits,
Laying itself across the aging roof,
Protecting the old girl,
In all the ways she can no longer
Protect herself.

And, as the duendes move on,
To dance in some other valley,
To entertain some other forest spectators,
To tempt some other leaf,
Or grocery bag,
Or strip of corrugated tin,
The tarp gazes
At the surrounding pine trees
Now as placid as the ancient wisdom they hold,

Like them,
The tarp is still,
And it is happy.

©2019 Annette Meserve

Of Trucks and Roads and Disturbing Things

There are belly-dumps
In my world today

They’ve been a reality
For a while now
What with the county’s
Quixotic attempts
To make dirt roads
So they don’t get muddy
When it rains.

But today,
They’re not just passing by
On their way
To the rutted places
Further up.

Today they’re milling about
Just outside my window
With their clouds of dust
And diesel smoke
And huge, mounded up,
Road-base furrows.

They are out there dropping
And grading,
And packing,
With nothing but the best intentions,
Believing they are improving my life
And the lives of everyone else
Who lives in this valley.

I know they mean well
And I think its peculiar
That I find it so disturbing.

I always do.
Rarely am I happy
To see the road crews in our midst.

Oh, there’s the odd day
When there’s three feet of snow
That I’m grateful for the grader
To make an easier path to feed horses,

But even then,
I’m also happy if they don’t come
If they let us be isolated from the world
For just a little while
Until it melts on its own.

I don’t know why
I react to big yellow machinery
In this ungrateful way,
Why I can’t appreciate their efforts
As they’re intended.

But I’d be happier
If they would stay away
Most of the time
And maybe just smooth things out
Once a year or so.

If they’d leave me
In my ruts.

©2016 Annette Meserve

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