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the heat lightning 261
of the seasons, and the wood
is bleached out. A few of these
look like antlers. As I turn
to examine one of them
a funeral procession
passes -- black Cadillacs, then
a long line of every-day cars.
They bear the dead and mourning
to the new cemetery
put in just beyond this farm --
the mourners preoccupied
matter-of-factly. I feel
like waving to them, but check
the impulse. The tree stands on
this thirty foot strip of ground
between the road and the fi eld;
beyond, now, is not only
the graveyard but new houses.
So the traffi
c is heavy
on a road which in my youth
was silent, usually --
three or four cars going by
during a morning, perhaps.
Coming across on this ground
from the road, through the bluestem,
to see the wild geraniums,
I came close to cutting my foot
on a beer bottle fragment.
Still it is a pleasant place.
I notice along the base
of the great trunk a blackened
area -- from an old weed fi re,
I suppose. There is a weed