And because they slept in, my friends–

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxartists, musicians,xx old boys
with instruments whittled from boughs

xxxxxxxxxxxgnarled and warped

redwood, boxwood, maple inscribed xxxx they sleep in,

they slumber, they do,
naturally as animals– foxes chipmunks squirrels– burrowing in,

deep down away from their toils

xxxxxxxxxxxunder wings of conifers, not far from brooks, little rivulets
womb like they do
hibernatexx in this place, home, name it

Paradisex their personal Elysium

xxxxxxxxxyou see my neighbor says, with thatx child-lost look on his face
in the library parking lot,xxx morning departing

you see, he says, about the fires,
his eyes asquint

they were artists, musicians, retired,
xxxxxxxxxxxlike me, and though I’ve moved two hours away…

they were artists, musicians, retired, like me

I tried phoning them, you know
xxxxxxand the smoke,xxxxx it’s so hard to breathe even here
about two hoursx south

and the not

xxxxxxxxxxxxthe not knowing, and

how the golden-red leaves, swirl, spin, counter-dance
legions of them and the not knowing

how to wrap one’s head around how

do you, how they
xxxxxxxxxmay not have

gotten out, or maybe tried, hunched over steering

wheels round
the image,x fixed countenance imaginexxxxx with or without

wives, animals, instruments, their

xxxxeyes set on the horizonx as ifx a miracle
as if a certainly

A certainty, oh imagine them blinded by fire
xxxxxthe hum of the flames which bee-hives make

carrying their instruments
xxxxshielded there, tucked angel like

xxxxxxxbetween elbow andx waist,x cradled
fiddlex mandolinxxxoboe

and just made guitar in its canvas case stretched out across a lap, pieta-like;
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxoh imagine and driving out, they werex or they are

sacred now, all of them, imagine…..sublime.