Buoy the population of the soul
Toward their destination before they drown
~ Robert Pinsky
April 2021
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Thursday, 3. April 2003

This Far - Dick Allen

for my daughter

Here, I leave you. There are tins of water
enough to keep you for a little while,
dried meat and biscuits by the pantry door.
Usually, the mice stay pretty quiet.

The view's not bad. Those are my favorite hills,
covered with pines. On a clear April day
you can see small paths among the boulders,
maybe an eagle if you're looking hard.

Try to remember that the telephone
is only for emergencies—may they be few.
Keep the doorsill swept. You can never tell
who will come riding up from the valley.

These are my books, a motley varied lot,
some too much read, some not much read at all.
If you want, replace them with your own,
or use the shelves for toys and flower vases.

You're going to be on your own—sometimes
for months on end. I've found it helps
to whistle frequently or make out lists
of foods you love and states you've traveled in.

The pump is just outside. The clothesline holds
two weeks of laundry if you're planning things.
Fasten garbage lids on tight. Little devils
come from the woods to forage every night.

I hope you like the sound of mountain streams,
by my count three. But I suspect a fourth
is somewhere out there. Every spring
I think I hear it flowing through the dark.

You might listen for it, too. But now
I've said enough, it's yours. And don't forget
I've left you butter in the blue and silver dish
and stubs and stalks of candles you may light.

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