Some evenings fragility
lays itself out on roads
from the novel you are reading,
old peculiar enlargements
that keep you wakeful
long after the book closes.
Someone was alive
whom you followed by oil lamp
for hours through the pages
and now, in a quiet house,
everyone breathing must be looked at
and more than looked at,
It sees nothing where it has been seen
by all eyes in the climax forests
that pass in slow succession after fires.
Even the white bear may have known it
glazed by the last touch of the glacier
that, miles away, broke it off the mountain.
The story of its roll down here
to this surprising presence,
its ride with the field of stones
that made Maine hard to farm, and again hard,
is soon told.
I take this boulder for a landmark
and pass by
in the deep woods on my road to friends.