I encounter an aerial ferret
leaving his inscription on a truncated pine,
choosing his wriggling morsels
from those who feed on the ex-living,
the trees that shaded the thirties,
once a canopy over hand-cranked
ice cream and an aging Ford
during a dusty summer
sneaked past rural depression
and a dying peace.

Tell me, red-backed gunboat, how you find
the essence of your search, and how to ride
the turned-back lazy updrafts to the trees,
the dead trees swaying
grimly on a weathered hill.

May 17, 1973

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