[36] Passing through…, The Root…, Mark Danowsky; The Old Oak, Roberta “Bobby” Santlofer

Passing through Southeastern Pennsylvania Towns in Winter

Wawaset to Route 52 South out towards mushroom country
I drive a stranger’s family, oldest son riding shotgun
Warm Winter through the car’s speakers
a stag darts—rack gone magnificent starburst by high beam glare
could have flipped us Through the Wire
—we trudge on, pass Lenape Road, wind & wind
feeling the elevation on a one way road called two

Earlier, Nantmeal Township, then a chopped grain field
entering Lionsville, shades of beige, all the space filled in
with geese—god knows how many—it’s sunny
outside today, first in three, I want to say sub-zero temps
but most towns within 25 miles offer a light flurry
—in Nantmeal, trees stilled by ice, the gleam of bare branches
staggers, I roll the window down to photograph frozen wine vines—
roads open up out here, the air more crisp, quiet
it seems easier, hours still, before dusk


The Root of All Our Losses

It would be easier to burn every bridge
until you reach Pittsburgh

You could live in Pittsburgh, you could
wedge your way into their community

It is not so hard to take lives—
sink your nails in, release, leave scars

Still you cannot avoid the place
where you are forever your 15 year old self

You must let it be known, you have lived
in the city, in a small town, can own and abandon

Where you are forever your 15 year old self:
segment the sky, your memories, plant your flag


The Old Oak [posthumously published]

The old oak out there
Struck by lightning last year
And now partly dying,
Sways in January’s cold wind,
The dead branches forming a cat’s cradle
I made with a friend once,
Broke and remade,
The lines always curving the same
The thickness and the sway varying, depending on the string used,
And the firmness of our hold.


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