On the Stile
Tom led Caroline across the stile. Her blouse and ribbon took some blue from the hills and that same blue was on the fence boards as her eyes adjusted to the shade. She took care in her good shoes on the tall steps.
Their hands passed over the ridge of the fence like a knot in a rope and they tugged against each other as she took the top step after him. His hands were already rough from woodwork and once she’d seen him bend a tenpenny nail. A memory came to her. She remembered the coast when their mother was pregnant with Tom. She remembered the sand, cold, and pouring it into their father’s wide hands and the expanse settled under the sky.
Caroline looked out to the foothills, now rolling under the haze—the mirage of afternoon. “Oh, Thomas,” she said, “do you see all that blue? That’s what the ocean looks like.”
Alex Leavens has worked as a naturalist for the Portland Audubon Society, backcountry ranger and firefighter in the Olympic National Park, and primitive survival instructor in Southern Utah. His poetry has appeared in Cirque: A Journal for the North Pacific Rim, Windfall: A Journal of Poetry of Place, Perceptions Magazine, Clover: A Literary Rag, Tiny Seed Literary Journal, Frogpond, and Modern Haiku.
The Ekphrastic Review
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