Catskills

Chasing a memory tonight

of driving in the Catskills
among thousands of trees
and thousands of whitetail deer
under the infinite cloud of stars
called the Milky Way

Top speed on the narrow roads
was reduced to
as slow as possible

Over half the houses were empty
Many abandoned and neglected
Others shuttered but well kept

and the Milky Way
as bright as it should always be
out there
so far from the city 

broadly strung horizon to horizon
thick and visible enough to reinforce
how empty the woods were
of everything but trees and deer

who did not move 
when headlights hit them
their numbers giving them
the certainty and the confidence
to stand their ground

Counted 40 while I was stopped
by just one road-clogging herd

Creeping through close enough
to open a window
and (perhaps) touch one then
finding 15 around the next bend
and the next until
before I could reach my destination
I simply stopped counting 
in the low hundreds

I learned the next day from a local resident
that this was all dairy country once

Hundreds of farms in its heyday
now down to 35 in all of the county
Most of the rest were simply abandoned
and those pastures gone wild
were perfect habitat
for the whitetails
who had become so numerous
that there were fears
of a die-off coming soon
on the way to regaining 
balance

I am thinking of this tonight

while sitting here
dreading the morning news
because I have to try as well 
to recall a time when I saw
what it might be like if America
abandoned the land it liked to think of 
as its tamed birthright

and let that land re-invent itself
healing into a new balance
under a free and inviolate sky

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About Tony Brown

A poet with a history in slam, lots of publications; my personal poetry and a little bit of daily life and opinions. Read the page called "About..." for the details. View all posts by Tony Brown

2 responses to “Catskills

  • Tony Brown

    I’ve been watching that. Horrible. Got at least one friend who’s in that area and scared, another who’s from there and thinks her old cabin may be gone.

  • Eileen

    Our Smokey Mountains have literally been turned to smoke and ash. Horrifying photos. Many have lost everything. Several have died. And police are saying it was arson.

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