Could you see through time this closed porch beginning to remember, or, as some old friends said, beginning to resemble names the miles made familiar, and the lifetimes saved in them, what might you learn from Coeur d’Alene, from time applying the guide-book rules-of-thumb to western creatures, according to colors, sounds, flashing parts you’d think there’s no mistaking, more for the fun than certitude, for work we might make light of by returning, and the learning, as that goes, matched to the states, the sidewalks where pilgrims knelt before approaching, to climb or sigh for stuff they had in mind to ask there, leaving their tools dialed back, the course of obsolescence built into the language they’d been born for, tasked by the schooling, by mornings away or village salaries, by views they’ve kept up with, beginning in time, it seems, and delivered who knows where, if not these topmost branches clouds and blue make something of, even as budding might, and twenty states, or the steps you try along the stone road to the post-box, back into woods again, where the garage door’s raised despite the critters it might welcome, a little slow as yet, with the winter dreams mid-April, sheet by sheet, displays a way through. What if the coffee’s strong, from hours in the carafe, or the sun stands up, encouraging line after watched line, worked or wasted finally, meaning to prove some vibrancy exists in its expressing, in scenes we’ve spent a buck per mile to discover, playing their own parts now, as we, come gladly to, acquaint ourselves in the communion, inclined as we are to celebrate, back to these spring woods, where cardinals and doves let finches ornament the moment, and later, after dark, these peepers seem to own the night themselves, the dark’s benign patrols, on the limbs they’ll leave to a night’s own entertainments, with so many ways of saying once, of saying suppose, saying the joys and praises sensed, and better, we believe, to feel how good we get at this, and twenty states, and the ways of telling it.
What was that but growing up, with all its variants? What, if father had welcomed that move west and his promotion, would Denver have meant for kids from Irish, German, and Italian neighborhoods, and how would I get to Laramie, east again into Ohio, and home with you, Elizabeth, with our Sebring woods and poems, porch chairs and photographs, Lord knows, I could not be without, emboldened by all of it, by twenty states, and so many ways of being heard, as these two decades seem, and, as ever, gaze and glance and gesture, trying ourselves out, where we’ve arrived to celebrate our travel at this table, to see nine thousand miles, this season in a new year, enjoying the woods informed by how many takes on seeing, even these peepers, love, missed in our absence then, and these, correcting balance, being here, these evenings in woods made new again by musing, as sequoia, ponderosa, aspen, as Joshua, we make believe, might well anticipate, the good garnered humors lingering, speaking to us, shared in continent-wide songs we hear as layers, lyrics the moon assists tonight, and the earth, seen commonly, from how many million miles, as it comes round mindfully, to a glimpse, mood, to these Ohio woods southeast of Cleveland, these ocean-whispered groves, towering and teasing pictures, their place in the local tones, tunes, approvals, in this work we share, these anniversaries joined alike by travel and returning, so that we might be anywhere.
Robert Lietz’s poems have appeared in more than one hundred journals, including Agni Review, The Georgia Review, The North American Review, Poetry, and Shenandoah. Eight collections of poems have been published, including Running in Place, At Park and East Division, The Lindbergh Half-century, The Inheritance, Storm Service, and After Business in the West: New and Selected Poems.Lietz spends a good deal of time making photographs, examining the relationship between them and poems he has made and is exploring.