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
Weightless.

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

And the spirits say to it,
“Come,
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,
“No,
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,

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

©2019 Annette Meserve

Falling

I felt it the other day.
It seemed early,
But there it was.

In the cities
Summer is still in full force,
Middle afternoon temperatures,
Continuing to reach the
“Oh!  I think I’m going to melt!” stage,
Wishes for swimming pools
And air conditioning
Still very much on people’s minds.

But here,
Among the waning sunflowers,
And the cooling breeze off the mountains,
The quality of light has changed,
The sense of things in the air,
The whispered expectation.

Soon the leaves will color,

The tree up the road,
The one that always goes first
Has started already,

And with the coloring
There is a feeling,
An inspiration,
A longing for distance.

Now is the time of road trips,
Of heading east,
Of rest stops,
And truck stops,
Of miles and miles of interstate,
With windows full open
And billboards that make us laugh.

It’s a time of deciduous forests,
Of thick, humid air,
Of narrow paved roads
Lined dense with trees,

Of sitting by the ocean
With its rocky cliffs
And crashing waves,
Its screeching birds
And lighthouses.

Of time spent in a world
That is not arid
But wet
And fecund
And abundant

With plants
And people
And culture
And connection.

A world that is not home
But is restorative
And nourishing nonetheless.

A world
That I will not see this year
But that comes floating in
On the fall air.

©2016 Annette Meserve