Pond Road, Truro

Two boys fling their lines where midges swarm
above green plates of lily pads. Late summer heat
defies the change that’s coming. Hydrangeas near the porch
are purpling. Past dusk, hemlocks cast longer shadows.

A plaque beside the pond notes the place
pilgrims first drank from in the new world.
Up to their knees, indifferent to history, the boys
want to catch something big.

They don’t think the season’s getting smaller
or crave its return like I do. I have stayed longer than usual
in the rented house, as if buying time
were possible, to purchase back days

when the rooms were filled with family.
But here’s what I have come to—the mug of green tea
on the desk, the dog by the kitchen door,
waiting—not emptiness exactly but a tempering

as if I’ve been reduced. Who am I
to wish it otherwise—surveyor of cattails,
the boys snagging pond weed, the light
streaming over them. I have leased these extra hours.

They are not mine. I am like those
first settlers crouched in the reeds
not sure where they belong,
though they have reached their destination.

Michelle Gillett (1948–2016) was a teacher and an award-winning poet from Stockbridge, Massachusetts. Her most recent book, Coming About, will be published posthumously in 2017 by Four Way Books.