Saturday, March 12, 2016

March 12: Rootless Weekend, Jonathan Johnson, "She of Tioga Creek"

One of the things that always strikes me when I am separated from my family for any length of time is how much I depend upon them to keep me sane.  Particularly my wife.

Yes, our marriage has had its share of struggles, but what marriage doesn't?  After two decades, we are still together, despite a year of separation and one court hearing.  Yes, we were that close to not being together.  Yet, here we are.  Two beautiful kids.  A house that is in need of serious repair and remodeling.  And each other.

I miss her this weekend.  A lot.  There's something about her that sort of makes me feel . . . rooted.  She's not going to see this post, unless she's using my daughter iPhone to read my blog this weekend, which I highly doubt.

Poet Jonathan Johnson is a lot like me.  I've known him for years.  I've known his wife for almost as long.  They have a teenage daughter around the same age as our daughter.  I went to grad school with Jonathan.  Shared two offices with him at two different universities.  Jonathan's wife and daughter root him, too.

Saint Marty is having a rootless weekend.

She of Tioga Creek

by:  Jonathan Johnson

Marsh went mostly unnoticed then,
and the sun's tremolo through spruce shadows
was just the context our desire used for
your feet on the dash, and the outpost houses
with their dead Chevys were mere residences
for the dusk behind what we decided to say,
and we were never the land we imagined ourselves,
so there's nothing of us to notice now, as I pass.
Not even in the roadside park where we pulled off
and walked the creek up to a dark we used
to unfasten each other from weeks of expectation
in so many other grasses under your back
and where I held the source of your true voice
that, soft, almost mourning, was also the delicate water
inches from your hair where I don't stop
but drive by, past more bleached, dead cedars
we must have passed when we got back on the road
but wouldn't have seen in the night beyond our headlights'

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