The following poem was written several years ago and then revised in the spring of 2002.

Walls Left Untended
by Tom Spencer
 

In the evenings
the deer would emerge
from the edge of the woods
stepping over the tumbledown stones
of walls left untended-
they'd leave tracks through the snow
in a wandering line that led to the last apple tree
in the field by Orchard Street.

I remember that now,
staring at this antler I've found
in the clearing between the cactus
and sun bleached stones.
The lines of the antler
flow into the fractures of my palm-
two thousand miles from snow,
and two thousand miles from
the blue evening glow
of a shivering world
glazed over by twilight…

And the deer-
magnificent, pawing the snow
searching for apples that had fallen below-
emboldened by the frozen sweetness of autumn.
They were graceful even in flight-
when cars with chains
jingling and crunching the ice
rounded the corner
down Orchard Street.

Today I've tracked over two thousand miles
in my own wandering line-
the lines of the antler
flow through the tangles and hollows of time.

Sometimes I stand in a clearing,
sometimes hidden by trees,
sometimes I scratch below the surface,
and I run- but, less gracefully...

There are walls I've left untended
and some I've crafted too well-
it is through forgotten tumbledown walls
that memories come-
I thank grace
it was into this clearing they fell.

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