The Homestead on Horn Mountain

Long ago
someone climbed to the top of this mountain
and dug a well.

This is the place, marked
by an elderly pine.
I part a way through the overgrowth
with my stick
to the black brackish water in its circle of stones.

This is mystery:
stone more ancient than the mountain, water
as eternal as all circles.
Someone lived here and drank that water
and disappeared under moss and bramble.
The ground is littered with rocks
of a fallen homestead.
The well is a shaft of memory sunk in the ground.

Turning to scribble a note to myself
I start to the sound
of a motor:
since I last climbed Horn Mountain someone
has cut a road just above the old homestead,
I can see the cigarette
in the driver’s hand as a yellow truck comes
rumbling past—

I duck below the bramble like the spirit of ruin
that haunts this place,
diving back down the black shaft
of undrinkable remembrance
past the names of mountains and roots of pines
down to the underground river of earth’s long