The Scenic Overlook
No bucket seats; no seat restraints;
it is nineteen fifty-nine, and we are parked
on West Rock Ridge, on Baldwin Drive.
Our overlook is empty; the Hudson’s grill
is pressed against the wood and wire guardrail;
it is pointing, upward, at the sky.
Red-faced and out of breath, my right arm
curled around your sun-browned shoulders,
we are waiting for the night.
Closed to traffic and young lovers,
weeds now fill the cracks around
the shattered wooden guard rail;
frayed and rusted cables, the sloughed
off skins of wire snakes, lie limp
and coiled around each concrete base
where thick white wooden
posts and wire cables, as taut and trued
as long-stemmed daffodils and roses,
once held us poised for flight.
Years of weekend day trips, harvested
in old coat pockets and draw string bags
the rocks gleaned from state parks,
from beachfronts, from a terminal moraine.
Now, my back and shoulders cracked
and bowed from forty years of lifting thick lead
blocks and stage four cancer patients,
on summer afternoons, I watch my gnarled
hands stacking stone on polished stone, building
cairns on wooden benches, on tree stumps,
on slate rock garden paths.
each cairn becomes a calling,
becomes a shattered body healing,
a single column rising slowly—balanced,
upright, bone on polished bone.