The Clearing

The sunbox lies in pieces,
its strips of aluminum foil
flaking away to the wind,
tanning platform broken up
for kindling. Planted grass
sprouts where the path once
sharply turned to the left
circumventing underbrush,
there the man (a boy then)
stumbled on beauty’s wrath:
pale sisters yelling him off,
scrambling for clothes to cover.

All has been cleared, thick
cat briar raked into piles
and set ablaze, invincible
ailanthus stacked for dump.
All’s clear and calm save
his childhood rushing head-
long through tearing thickets,
and the sisters, barely glimpsed
against reflective flashing,
laughing after him, then
lying back to catch
all the sullen autumn sun they can.

Poem copyright ©2006 by Carl Little and reprinted from Ocean Drinker: New and Selected Poems, Deerbrook Editions, 2006, by permission of Carl Little and the publisher.