No, I have not returned to those oak trees.
I have not missed their humorless skeleton limbs
or the high-banked creek that coils
amidst the tombstones of varying wear.
I stand behind you and the tiller in Indian summer.
I reach up to hold your old denim belt-loops,
marvel at your footprints in the fragrant black soil.
Night after night, you empty your change into a pile
on your dresser, unclip your nametag,
remove the pens from your pocket.
I trace the ropey, blue veins on your hands
and tell you: you are home now.
Mostly, I watch you at the dining table,
silver head resting on thin arms
after the meal has been cleared
and conversation oozes toward midnight.
You sometimes smile as a private tide
nudges you in and out of sleep.
Tell those voyeur trees not to wait for me.
Tell them we meet elsewhere.

Amanda Skjeveland's work has recently appeared in Melusine, Eclipse, Flutter Poetry Journal, Burst, Literary Mama,
The Write Room, and Tonopah Review.  She lives with her husband and two little boys on the east coast, where she
teaches English and edits the literary magazine at a community college.


To Robert H. Miller, whose magic wand will never truly be broken.



Copyright 2009