PICTURES: REMEMBERING GILBERT, CHESAPEAKE’S THOREAU
Toward the end, you wanted to take my picture.
Your eyes, blue under a milky veil, turned in my direction.
I took your hand, light and dry, and we made our way
out the groaning door you had built generations before,
out into the woods shrouding your cabin, out with Old House Cove
cupping the creek of San Domingo, shimmering in the sun behind.
Was it I who clung to the sleeve of your sweater, stumbling over roots elbowing up from the earth?
I gave you the camera and backed away.
Dear, where are you?
Light streaked down the tall oaks and stout pine, Light filtered through the crouching dogwoods offering delicate plates of white petals.
Gilbert, over here!
Standing firm amidst the splashing light,
you aimed at the center of the sound of your name and shot.
Later I told you the pictures were lovely—
one, a partial sky eclipsed by thumb,
one, a floor of dry leaves restless as bones,
one, I wore an explosion of light in the midst of something black.
On all, I signed my name on the back. I did not know what else to do.
I admire the dignity of the maple leaves,
lifting their green palms to the sky in summer sun
and turning silver backs to the north wind
and bowing down to the earth in rain without moaning or pouting or expecting reward for being
what they were born to be.
And in the fall when the coolness comes and the life blood of the leaves retreats down the trunk
through roots burrowed
deep into the bosom
of the earth
and the leaves
blush and curl
they do not
as I might
into despair rather,
in breaking down
they feed the hungry ground
they feed the hungry ground.
Kelley K. Malone has devoted her career to working for people with disabilities on Maryland’s mid-shore in the not-for-profit sector and has served as an elected official on the Easton Town Council. She has one son, Michael, a bachelor’s degree from Salisbury University in Secondary Education and an executive MBA from Loyola University. She writes in rare moments of free time.
The Delmarva Review is a nonprofit literary journal publishing compelling new poetry, fiction and nonfiction from writers within the region and beyond. About sixty percent are from the Delmarva and Chesapeake Bay area. The journal is supported by the Eastern Shore Writers Association, private contributions, and a grant from the Talbot County Arts Council with funds from the Maryland State Arts Council. For more information, please visit: www.delmarvareview.com.