Afraid of the Dust

“Afraid of the dust, closely peering
at fragments, we go cautiously among
little things, finer and finer, till no one
is able to find us and we can follow
where the labyrinth wants us to go. Oh, do you
remember when the days were fastened to wheels
of a wagon and the sun waited for the mailman?
You put your hand on the ice they swept
from the delivery truck, and summer reeled back,
nailed again. They’ll never catch us now-
our town grabbed those years, and we ran and ran.
Listen-Paul went to jail. Mary
died in Denver below the tracks.
But our best summer has broken loose: it orbits
in the sky flickering over and over
it’s blind signal, Mary holding out again
a butterfly wing and a dime and an agate,
saying what proved to be true. “They’re for you,
they’re forever.”
William Stafford

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