After leaving the city, I crested a northern New York summit and wept at the tableau before me: stonewashed-blue hills lumped around an emerald valley. “Wept” is melodramatic: my eyes stung, and I panicked over my maudlin mood. Now in Appalachia, I look over the overlook daily. Like Saul, scales cover my eyes. I wait for something to trigger the shedding: an individual brickred leaf? The opulent green of velvety moss? The nine does grazing beside a driveway, as indifferent to me as cattle would be?
Lover, you’re further than a turning away of a white-tail from me, a flick of that fractional tail. I realize how easily I bore. The rust-and-enamel train rounding the mountain, the russet and denim hills! The whitewaters from here like peels of discarded cotton. I tell myself I’ll walk the two switchback miles to the bottom in the spring, when the wildflowers stage their annual riot, overlooked by the helicopter bees. I lecture myself on the healing aura of trees. Lover, I forget your long hours, your “muenster mash” potatoes, your apology Pinot Grigio, your elegant bookshelf for my hoard of words.
I tell myself the scales will drop for someone else, for the fog like a faux-fur collar tickling the neck of dawn. For the sunset tossing gold tinsel on the pines. For the persistent leaves of rhododendron, challenging December. I will step into an enchantment that lasts, I promise myself, not noticing the oncoming night drumming the colors into the ground.
Mary Ann Honaker holds a B.A. in philosophy from West Virginia University, a Masters of Theological Studies from Harvard Divinity School, and a Creative Writing M.F.A. from Lesley. She has previously published poetry in 2 Bridges, Harvard’s The Dudley Review, Euphony, Off the Coast, Van Gogh’s Ear, The Lake, and many other online and print publications. Her first chapbook, It Will Happen Like This, was released by YesNo Press in 2015. She currently lives in Beaver, West Virginia.