Ground Hog Day
– on considering a painting by Andrew Wyeth
She no longer sits at the table, her back to the window,
its glaze, a shade of light beside her, while spreading
the bread and filling her cup. Observing his shadow
warning, the ground hog went back to sleep in his nest.
She turned from the tree trunk dragged by ring and chain,
from the post, its coil of barbs, a necklace of death
to ponder the wallpaper print of gable and gate,
the slope of her belly rising to fall with each breath.
After the sawing, who would shield the child
from the fitting and nailing, off-cuts thrown to the flame?
Between the lines, she wrote to warm her chill:
Step back from the edge, go round the other way.
Fifty springtime searches mark five decades,
the table laid with knife, cup, saucer and plate.