As if they have been waiting for me,

by Carol Milkuhn

these stones, piled into a wall by
a nineteenth-century farmer,
reach out with lichen-covered hands
eager to shake mine, extend a welcome
to a lone hiker in their woods—
so long has it been since they felt anything
warm-blooded, living, anything
that could remind them of that farmer,
of his calloused, roughened fingers
that coaxed them out of the mud, cradled them
into crevices, graced them with purpose—
only to abandon all, fields, farm—
even this wall,
not understanding that the land remembers,
shares secrets, confides
                      in vowels of stone.

Long Listed Poem 

Poetry Society of Vermont, 2024 The Mountain Troubadour