In These Hills

There’s sap in these hills,

the sugar maples

just beginning to run.

The farmers have them hooked

up with plastic tubing

so it looks like the trees

are giving blood or worse,

stuck on life support.

They get so cranky

these farmers for

the two or so weeks

while the run lasts –

twenty hour days

boiling it all down.

I’m not sure what they’d get

if they boiled me down,

but I know it would not be

anything near as good

as maple syrup.

Abandonments below 0°F

Three generations,

seventeen individuals if

we include the two lost in childbirth.

Perhaps not here since

those never knew the warmth

of the potbelly stove fully stoked

when outside temps fell

below zero degrees Fahrenheit.

They share a marker

in the corner of the family plot,

down the path,

beneath a small grove of pines

just beyond the barn:

Clara – Evan

I suppose it is good

they have each other

carved with that distinct dash

demarcating their respective

sides of the badly worn stone.

It would have been

nice to know the year.

1871? 1917?

I guess it does not change

the tenor of this story much.

They never shared a day

playing in the yard.

They never shared the warmth

of the potbelly stove.

Written in response to The Amplification Effect #4, an abandoned house.