On the Way to the Cemetery in New Auburn, Wisconsin, I Stop to Watch a Pair of Ducks

On the Way to the Cemetery in New Auburn, Wisconsin, I Stop to Watch a Pair of Ducks

Three miles south of town, I walk along the shoulder
of County Highway SS, pausing at a culvert
where acres of wetland flow beneath the roadway.

It’s been five years since you and I last walked
this way, our weekly hike paralleling the railroad tracks
taking us away from our home.

The blackdamp smell of creosoted crossties
baking in the midday sun has stopped me here.
Four miles left to go.

I sit on the guardrail to rest. No cars pass by.
A pair of mallards skates below me in the current,
feasting on minnows.

They speak to each other in hushed tones,
while cattails dance along the water’s edge.

Well-fed, they slide away below a trestle bridge
and move from my sight. I rise and move on,
trudging into the silence.

I have forgotten the sound of your voice.

Paul Scot August

Published in Sugar House Review – Volume 3: Spring / Summer 2011

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2 Responses to “On the Way to the Cemetery in New Auburn, Wisconsin, I Stop to Watch a Pair of Ducks”

  1. …so thoroughly, and economically evokes the scene, engaging specifics of the senses…then, that last line, the stark tenderness of it.

  2. Pam Woolsey Says:

    “The blackdamp smell of cresoted crossties baking in the midday sun…..” and forgetting ths sound of one’s voice…..hauntingly beautiful, Paul. Heartbreaking.

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