Pine needles travel over water like paw over dirt
the brook trout twist and turn, strong
streamlined, colorful- they smell of moss in my hands.
Tramping through wildflowers, mushrooms
crunching leaves and worn stones slippery with fungus,
I imagine the dog saw all this too.
Light falls through cracks and gaps in the walls. Debris,
hair on a chewed skull, threadbare ribs- forever
sleeping, an abandoned leather collar, brown
glass shards and cold grey breezeblocks.
Bales of moldy hay stacked in disorganized rows, towers
and cross hatching wooden beams holding this relic erect
as I ascend the wooden ladder, it groans with each step.
More falling light illuminating beer cans, soon to be filled
with shotgun holes and awful pizza already frozen, rigid
straw scattered across gap-toothed floorboards.
Everyone glowing, so proud, so cheerful to be here
but my beer tastes warm and I’m already dreading
the long walk down the ladder past the dog
out of the crooked archway and past the trees
over the rivers and dirt and over the brook trout
floating pine needles too faint to see in the moonlight
into my car and down the long winding road home.
Chris Rathbun is a junior English Literature major at SUNY Geneseo. He is a member of the Geneseo Football Club and an active writer of poetry. His favorite authors are Kurt Vonnegut, David Mitchell, and Cormac McCarthy.