Jess Levens

1652 Pastoral

The late farm is older than our witches;
laid on land of the old, New World.
Wind rattles incantations through the leaves,
and I follow beyond the gate.

My feet float along the red, needled floor,
guided by a stacked stone backbone.
Walking, walking—away from time and self;
deeper, walking under a spell.

A break in the spine invites me off-path.
Back behind a felled pine, I find
a quaint pond, framed by roots and mud-embossed;
topped with slush like porcelain skin.

Do springtime bass and bream await my bait
below the mirror’s frosted glaze;
or did the tears of Salem trickle south
and form a barren pool of grief?

A subtle ascent up a rightward bend,
past a down birch’s pulp and curls—
a hawk shrieks through my veil of quiescence,
and I drift back into myself.

In circles, circles—spiraled down the day;
now amber ash paints the ridgeline.
I circle back below the crowning moon
and in the darkness, reach the gate.

Jess Levens is a poet and photographer who lives with his wife, sons and dogs in New England, where he draws inspiration from the region’s landscapes and history. His poetry has been published in The Dillydoun Review and Prometheus Dreaming. Jess is a Marine Corps veteran and Northeastern University alum. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @levensworks.