Echo in September
By Christine Anne Pratt

Bright days like this I am caught, 
each word ringing like glass

stag                          night      
                 brake                   broken                  
arrow                    pheasant                                    
                 rinse                     recipe       
drink                    fire                                  
              lake                    listen

In the valley, strong-limbed youth clink up and
down ladders, finishing the trim under old eaves
of a Bed and Breakfast. I spy them from my glen,

dressed in white, their pails swinging, paint-spattered,
sundrenched skin.  These two could be my sons
bantering words back and forth like balls

had I not rebuffed and been rebuffed by the boy gods,
Narcissus, Pan, retiring to the mountains and my
wild creatures; had I not been hunted down

by the goat man and scattered to the winds
by shepherds, would I now recognize my own
fragmented voice in theirs?

Every year I forget how voices carry like bells
from the village church, each word held 
in the net of time, glistening, alive.