Produced by Maine Poetry Central and Dennis Camire

This week’s poem by Kevin Sweeney tenderly explores a couple revisiting the towns, landscapes and people the wife grew up with. What’s most moving is the longing to return to places which one knows are so changed — or gone — and where one may never again belong.

 

It’s Gone

By Kevin Sweeney

 

It’s raining in Oxford County as we circle Lake Pennesseewassee

on “Around the Pond Road,” near my wife’s once unhappy home.

At a tiny cemetery, she photographs the graves of boys, one and seven

years. I imagine a rucksack couple arriving today, seeing a lake,

an empty brick farmhouse above, deciding this is the place to begin.

 

At five we go to Beal Street Convenient Living Retirement Home

to take Grammy Goodwin to dinner on her 83rd birthday.

From the Lewiston Sun Journal she has clipped a photo:

my wife’s youngest sister with other assistant managers

at the opening of the new Save-a-Lot grocery in South Paris.

 

After the restaurant, sadly out of Grape-Nut pudding, I slow down

by her former house to search for a weeping willow she’d planted.

It’s gone, she says, so we drive to West Paris for mountains at dusk,

say good bye at the Home after dark and leave for South Portland.

 

The new section of Rte. 26 skirts Shaker Village like an urban beltway,

shiny reflectors giving runway glow to unblemished black tar.

Some slow day we’ll go back to the old road in search of reunion

 

lonesome for a Grange Hall by Sabbathday Lake where I’ve yet

to swim at the town beach, pretending to be local before continuing

West to hills where this summer so many old farms are up for sale.

 

Dennis Camire can be reached at [email protected]


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