LIFE                                                                 photo: "Branches" by Rody Luton

Listening to Joni Mitchell while driving up the New York State Thruway

on the way to Woodstock, December 2005...

I wonder if that old magazine knows what it’s like to be still dreaming of

hippie girls after all these years of toil—

if it has glossies of the ghosts that keep battling for the seat next to me,

each insisting we’ll build our cabin in the woods...plant the healing herbs!

I wonder if that old Life has a file for our darker shades—

the shadows of bare trees forking across the fields like scripture

while our monkeys danced (I can still see them crunching in the blue snow,

their paws held against the moonlight to guide its magic into us...

like the midwife’s glorious slap returning).

I wonder if Life knew then what was truly inside the mountain goddess—

her growing realization of loss even as she sang

the rivers of an alternate nation,

her eerie, peripatetic voice filling the morning cabins

and luring the scantily-clad back from their winter fields—

turning them again into cold monkeys lumbering, their eyes on fire.


 © Eliot Schain