After Michigan’s miles marked with graves
and Ohio’s highways hindered by cones,
I landed some lodging in a lakeside town.
I planned to unpack and plop on the bed.
But I went to the window to watch the traffic
and noticed — through noise and nuisant wires —
sweet-light from the sun setting over the lake.
Driven, I dashed down to the lobby
where a man marked a map to the beach
on Presque Isle (the piece of peace where my son
waded and watched the waves last year).
I revved along roads, racing the sun.
I lost. But the last liquid red
shone on the shingle. The shore glowed.
The wave-rhythm washed away the roar
of a day spent driving and dodging pot-holes.
The sand massaged the soles of my feet.
I paced. I took pictures. My pulse slowed.
No matter that I missed the moment of setting.
The fade was fantastic: a finish worth
extending my trek. Two days to go —
impossible made possible by peaceful Lake Erie.
My world turned green this week—a welcome change.
The winter’s white, while beautiful, had left
behind the brown of empty branches, mud
and rotten leaves. Two days ago, this green
enticed a woodchuck off his sunning-rock
to graze fresh grass behind my house. The deer
now come three times a day to fatten up
(their ribs are showing through their shedding coats).
I even saw a fox emerge to hunt
for rodents scurrying beneath the thatch
that’s pierced by fiddleheads and horsetails. Birch
and Quaking Aspen trees were first to leaf.
The other trees have buds about to break.
This green has sound as well as sight—at night
my wetland rings with courting frogs so loud
I hear their songs through walls and window glass.
But after half a year of silent nights,
this verdant lullaby is what I need.
I remember a night long ago, as the sun set behind the marché and a lone spire peered through the dust laden air, a lone bicyclist made his way down this empty street toward home confident that sagabo would soon warm him. Confident that after this meal, his world would sleep through the winter night wrapped in a cobalt breeze. Confident that he could hope for a profitable morrow tailoring clothes for the schoolmaster’s wife. He slept a good sleep next to his good wife and his good children. But that was long ago. Tonight I pray that peace returns to the sleep of this street, so that hope may return to the people who work and live along it. Bonne nuit, mes amies de Bobo-Dioulasso et dans le Burkina Faso entier.