I see you, western New York,
Finger lakes wolf-clawed
Across the map, sleeting sheets
Of snow peppering the salted
Highway. Two hundred and fifty six
Miles of abandoned tractors,
Silos filled with hollow sky,
Green verge of fencerow
And shaggy headed reeds,
Aesthetically invasive, nodding
“Yes, yes” where Wegman’s
Parking lot meets the marsh.
This is precisely the same
Everywhere, what we all know
Without seeing, a single emerald
Cover crop at the clover leaf
Just outside Rochester. We rise,
Merging, above the stone-
Picked fields, where black-hatted
Mennonites have returned, swept
Here on the same wind that
Stirred the lake schooners,
The bankers and businessmen,
The moldering barons of Buffalo.
A picture painted.
The reeds’ “Yes” is enigmatic. Would have been easy for them to say “No” to the encroachment; but they are apparently encroachers, too. I’m thinking of the tall imported reeds crowding out native cattails in marshy spots all over the East. In the Long Island of my youth, we called cattails “punks.” Dried, they could be set afire like tiki torches.
Your images linger.