The Places I Dream About

I rewind the familiar film.

Rich brown earth drips

like sweet honey from small

fingers in the garden beds behind

my parent’s house. Sunlight sinks


across the yard and melts beneath

the spreading limbs of an oak

whose rope swing rests, idle.

A chainsaw severs the silence

and wood chips fly, splashing


in the creek where my brothers

play in the midsummer heat.

The stack of firewood swells.

Leaves shrivel and the silver-faced

moon lingers into frosty mornings.


Amber flames coax the damp chill

from woolen hats hung above the

fireplace while smoke spirals above

skeletal treetops. Sticks clatter against

the stone birdbath in the empty


garden. Seedlings hatch on the sheltered

windowsill. Memories in this world used

to be a gentle whisper. Now, the ancient

trunk of the oak is split and its barren

branches threaten the back porch.


Noel Vanderbilt

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