New England Boundary Walls
They defy balance, haphazard construction
of uneven shapes and erratic sizes,
not held together with mortar or mud or glue,
often overrun by wildflowers, thin sheen of moss,
yellow pollen like ground corn.
Instead they are built to divide
land into quadrants of silence.
Introspection has attentiveness,
but this is not their intention. Instead
the rocks were to keep away neighbors
from interfering with neighbor.
Distance is better than confrontation, better
than dealing with failure.
It is better to build walls than resentment.
Stone territorial rights, fixed lines
of disagreement and interference.
None dare cross or trespass
where none are wanted.
You can hear couples snarling,
slamming rocks on rocks for emphasis.
Bickering is not held back.
Arguments are odd-shaped and sized.
1965, Andrew Wyeth painting
The gray clapboard house looks empty
but I can see her
behind the smoothing curtains
in the upper right window
a passing moment of shadow
a sound faraway
Martin Willitts Jr has had poems in Centrifugal Eye, Stone Canoe, Kentucky Review, Blue Fifth Review, Poppy Road Review, Comstock Review, and others. He won the International Dylan Thomas Poetry Award (2014) for the centennial. He has over 20 chapbooks and 8 full-length collections of poetry. His forthcoming books include “Martin Willitts Jr, Greatest Hits” (Kattywompus Press), “How to Be Silent” (FutureCycle Press), “God Is Not Amused With What You Are Doing In Her Name” (Aldrich Press), and “Hearing the Inaudible” (Poetica Publishing).