Did he taste of loneliness, sour & marmoreal,
that man from away who came out here
to get away from himself?
What vapors rose from the punctured
balloon of his gut, which he used to tap
with the small end of a fist when explaining
the pull of mountain scenery,
the open spaces & abundant peace?
He would settle here
as lightly as a leaf, he swore, praying
for the developers to be enveloped
& the subdividers subjected to division.
They didn’t feel the wilderness
the way he did, living off the land,
conscious only of God’s grace
as he looked back: the poor earth raw
from harrow & bulldozer, a snaggletoothed jumble
of lighthouse, smokestack, steeple.
Nothing like the orderly ridges
rippling under his attacker’s pelt,
that figment of the blue distance suddenly at hand.