A re-enactment on the withered slope

The garden fades in double sunset, still
hard-edged and amber,
loitering patiently. And jaundiced light,
unseasonably chill,
trickles like played out gold
through blighted trees.

From High Street Hill,
the steeple cross scowls down
on stained glass portals and a rusted gate.
Pale children flit in whispers
through the town,
and at the forest’s edge,
their faces fade.

The drizzling fog misting the sugar pines
can’t hide the gallows noose,
stiffened and blue. The trapdoor seems
impervious to time, as if tomorrow,
boot heels might bust through.
And bells might thunder
up the canyon wall,
and early nightjars
start their churring call.

Richard Manly Heiman lives in the pines of the Sierra Nevada. He works as an English teacher and writes when the kids are at recess. Richard has been published by Rattle, Into the Void, Spiritus (Johns Hopkins U.), and elsewhere. His website is https://www.poetrick.com.

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