Driving West through Somerset County
The sun climbed the rigging of a mackerel sky,
with me and my daughter following west,
and then the sudden, thick lashed, chestnut eye
of that poor deer, flashed as we collided.
Busted bumper, her bounding toward the pines—
clean-limbed, light, and sapling-sound, she vanished.
Stopped on the shoulder, I dreaded what damage
my own poor dear and her thick-lashed, chestnut eyes
had suffered, struck by their shared innocence
and that awful force; but her beaming face,
sunflower-broad, was filled by this thrill,
with her eager as the deer that the day
might move along, and the sun—without
looking down—should keep to its climbing.
After an Absence of Years
Balsam boughs, weighed down with snow,
swing slowly in the breeze as we descend
the mountain’s steeper north face. Swaying,
they slough off clumps in powdery clouds
that shimmer in the opal light.
The road is wet and black but for the few
patches of snow scraped to a dirty shine
by a plow, and lumps of frozen azure ooze
from the cliffs above. A blue jay screams
at something deeper in the woods.
The valley draws closer, honing memories;
the sun finds its face on the tin roofs of homes
and on the train tracks that parallel
the white band of river lost under ice.
Sunlight fails; our feet crunch the shoveled walk.
The cold and the blue seek to sharpen
everything the snow would make soft,
and, at the door, we’re caught in between—
our silent, frozen breath blending, suspended,
rising to crown us both with ragged halos.
KEVIN CASEY is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He received his graduate degree at the University of Connecticut. Recent works have appeared in Grasslimb, Frostwriting, Words Dance, Turtle Island Review, decomP, and others. He currently teaches literature at a small university in Maine, where he enjoys fishing, snowshoeing and hiking.