Harrisville’s square brick houses
sun themselves like Renoir nudes.
Summer’s fading. Cricket re-tune
in the graveyard beside the pond.
A pair of white-haired women
canoe-race each other,
paddling so hard the water hurts.
I lie in the grass, risking ticks,
and watch the sky do nothing
but indulge its favorite blue.
You with your pearly religion
would mentally pioneer that space
with balloon-shaped benevolence
sure to offend normal Christians.
You’d postulate nuclear spirit
ripened over the years to a fine
hard gloss. Back on my feet
before I sink into the lichen
I wander back to browse among
the mill buildings braced on slopes
rolling toward Monadnock. A brook
tumbles one step at a time
toward a lake where growling boats
drag skiers to their doom. You’d laugh
as they tumble in prismatic spray,
dunking in bottom-feeder depth.
Whatever I say in defense of space
eroded by ancestral glaciers
applies to your right to believe
and believe. The hard brick houses
track the light like sundials. We’d live
a little unhappily here,
the winters shaped like bell jars;
but when loons set the pond ringing
your imaginary benevolence
would apply, and the warmth
of sun on brick would penetrate
with a gold opulence you’d lather
all over yourself till you shine.