Julia at the Vanderbilt Estate

The earth folds in on itself
and even in its dying
there is still a mist
rising from the river
among the red oaks,
the magnolia, and the poplar trees.

Enough to erase the horizon,
enough to say, with a loose stroke
or the smudge of a finger
we can make the scene less firm,
cloud the coming end,
still fill it with possibility:
exotic fruits, a new June,
newlyweds rafting the patient water,
their laughter hung on the leaves
like wind chimes.

Who doesn’t love a landscape?
We are all immortal in it,
despite the stone step where
we gathered for breakfast
near the balustrade.

I said, ‘Julia, the colors!’
She said, ‘I see, I see,’
though of course she couldn’t.

‘I met one of them once,’ she said.
‘Met who?’ we asked.
‘The tall one…I forget his name
— but he’s gone now.’

‘Yes,’ we said,
and the red oaks said yes, yes we know,
despite the mist still
rising from the river.

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