Day's End in the Shenandoah
Rachel Adams

We take the northernmost trail—
rock-ridden and deep red, and marked
by blue paint-blazes on the trees,
bright bursts amid the green.

At its end, a low cabin, splashed
with graffiti. And inside, too,
words everywhere—miniature
ballpoint-pen diatribes, and expletives,
and the record book hanging on a nail,
brittle and teeming with little histories.

Sitting on the rough floor, looking out—
down the hill to the river blackened
by raincloud-reflection, and down to the sharp
gray ridge beyond, like a raised hand—
we can see the slow approach
of the dark between us,
the sort of stifling that is a subtle thing,
still mixed-through with calmness,
like a sound mixes with the air.


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