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The Top of Brown Road

Coming over the top of Brown Road where the valley turns her shoulders to you -- and down the cleft you see two horses pacing behind their fence; an apple tree, barren, huddles in the wind; and the field of winter wheat, bowed in yellow waves, suited foot to head in a skin of glass. The winter rain has iced the dun and amber hill, and the winter light given it a proud idea, as if the reflected shine came from within. Clouds larger than my imagination barge over the hilltops back in the direction I came. And then the wind again, making the horses stamp a bit and the wheat rustle with a glassy voice like -- I had no other word for at the time but -- angels. Kathy you were behind me, around the mountain loop, turned to a dusty window brushing your wheat-colored hair. And before me was the valley I thought to be the whole world, waiting for a boy to make up his mind. And I was, as always, pinned between, stopping high on Brown Road to account for a winter day. Five years have gone, and I am still there. And after fifty, no matter where, I expect to be waiting the same: standing high at the bend, letting the wind go through my pockets, pacing behind my fences, listening to the glossy wheat come crashing from the strain and splinter to the earth with a sound I imagine I'll sometime find a word for.

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