Vacancy Inspection: Woodsboro Pike
I imagine her at these windows, looking
out at fields in neat rows under a thin muslin
of snow a week into the new year, emerging
soft into the May air, ready for the combine
in early November. She would know how
the scene changes over the year, the exact
angle at which the spring sun pulls the crops
up out of the soil, how the summer heat
ripples above the greening soybeans, how
the shadows lengthen after Halloween
and the tourists and commuters no longer
stop for apples and pumpkins at the farm
across the road. I imagine her sitting on her
front porch gazing at the hills Maryland
calls mountains, arching round and low,
slumbering in the blue haze distance.
I picture her giving away more eggs than
she sells from the coop behind the garage
where the swifts come and go from nests
built since the people and the chickens left.
I open the garage door to enter and a pair
of swept wings, all points and angles
and speed, bursts in with me and circles
frantically for the way out, orbiting my head
and the dead air inside, its twittering protests
loud and panicked, until it shoots through
the rectangle of light in the doorway and flits
up and out over the back fallows, dissolving
into the tree line just past the train tracks.
I recall the pigeon that found its way into
our house the week my wife and I moved in,
my father telling us how it was good luck.
I imagine a woman in this house watching
the dark miles of road, waiting for headlights
to slow and turn at her mailbox late at night,
for the last rays of sunlight to reach back
over the Catoctins, for the afternoon wind
to pick up ahead of dark skies approaching.
Pittsburgh Quarterly is now accepting submissions for its online poetry feature. PQ Poem is seeking poetry from local, national and international poets that highlight a strong voice and good use of imagery, among other criteria. To have your work featured, send up to three previously unpublished poems in Word or PDF format as well as a brief bio to email@example.com. Simultaneous submissions are accepted, but if work is accepted elsewhere, please alert us.