Harvest Moon, Manzanita, Oregon
At night we walk the elks’ path
between ocean and bay,
waves a distant hiss to the west,
cackling geese calling since dusk.
Where the ridge crests a hundred
yards east, surf pine and dune grass
release a few shadowy juncos.
Clouds chasing the full harvest
moon have gotten snagged on
Neahkahnie Mountain north of us.
It is so bright we can see a clear-cut
slope on the Coast Range ahead.
All week we have been orienting
ourselves to this new home, this new
time in our lives. I try to imagine soon
being seventy but there are so many
stars when the clouds come loose
and too much happening just inside
the forest when the wind dies down.
She sits by the window tuning
her guitar as windswept light
off the river flickers around her.
Late afternoon breeze carries
the deep thrum of a tugboat
heading back to its dock
and the fading cackle of geese
flying south. She loosens
her fingers through two etudes
and a passage from “Ode to Joy.”
Then she begins “Simple Gifts,”
and the melody is so familiar,
now that it is part of her practice,
I sometimes hear it in dreams.
There it is always accompanied
by her soft smile as the song
draws to a close and starts anew.
Floyd Skloot’s most recent books of poetry include Approaching Winter (LSU Press, 2015), Close Reading (Eyewear Publishing, UK, 2014) and The Snow’s Music (LSU Press, 2008). In 2014, The University of Wisconsin Press published his fourth memoir, Revertigo, and they will publish his fifth novel, The Phantom of Thomas Hardy, in fall 2016. He is the winner of three Pushcart Prizes and the PEN USA Literary Award, and his work has been included in The Best American Essays, Best American Science Writing, Best Spiritual Writing and Best Food Writing anthologies. He lives in Portland OR.