Flattening the Road.

I drive home in a pouring snow, remembering when we bought a Toyota pickup years ago, and I drove with four-wheel drive, how the road suddenly flattened out. I’m driving my daughter’s car. In Hardwick, I stop at the auto parts store. Her right wiper is torn. I’ve known the person my daughters call The Auto Parts Man for years. He opens the wiper packages on the counter and then puts on his coat and heads out in the snow and replaces my wipers, too.

It’s the last day of February, and he says he’d rather winter just quit. He laughs and shrugs.

Nonetheless, for the moment, my windshield is clear.

This hill
crossed with broken pines and maples
lumpy with the burial mounds of
uprooted hemlocks (hurricane
of ’38) out of their 
rotting hearts generations rise
trying once more to become
the forest

just beyond them  
tall enough to be called trees  
in their youth like aspen a bouquet  
of young beech is gathered

they still wear last summer’s leaves   
the lightest brown almost translucent  
how their stubbornness has decorated   
the winter woods

— Grace Paley

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