William Pitt Root

Where We Live

Steeped in the shade of earth upright — maple and oak —
our house sits peering south toward a small lake,
but back over its shoulder, obscured by woodsmoke
winters and from April on by leaves green like
schools of clouds imagining they’re grass, the Shawangunk ridge
rises turning sun to stonelight on the wide walls.
Cyclists pedal up, glide back; backpackers trudge;
climbers from everywhere test their skills
on surfaces more ancient than the mammal,
securing hand- and toe-holds with space-age devices.
And it happens nearly every year: Someone will fall
while all the others, electrified by the instant crisis,
charge the forest with their chorus of cries — then sirens race
toward the one who’s plunged past any friend’s embrace.