Returning to Recollection's Place


Maureen Tolman Flannery


Aren’t you, too, energized

by the alchemy of place and memory,

longing for a landscape that charges

in its particular way?


I crave what wells up in me

returning to that patch of timber—

aspen growth shimmering at the rim

of lodge pole pines. It’s akin


to a magnet’s urgency nearing the iron surface

or a cocklebur’s relief when it’s knocked

off the sock and back onto soil.

Perhaps you’re attached to patch of dirt road


or the canyon cliff you repelled down

with a guttural yell of bliss,

even a trashy abandoned shack

where you met with friends to map out mischief.


Maybe passion stirs in that wood where you first

heard a magpie answer squirrel banter

or in cactus-spiked badlands where you

peered through mica at the unrelenting blue of sky,


or a certain curve of shore freshly etched

by sandpiper feet and the sidelong scamper

of hermit crabs. I can’t find an apt word

for the solace that emerges when we approach


the wild place our innocence could not tame.

A dormant homing pigeon instinct kicks in

when I head again for those mountains

to feel the tight clump of otherness loosen.