I Keep the Door Open by Marc Harshman

Near Bluefield a long haul truck plunges
            through a tunnel’s silence
            and a ghost of echoes follows it home.
I reject certain facts for my own pleasure.
There may be a home, there may be a sound, there may be some applause
            when that tree falls in that one-handed forest.
I know I have enough dandelions in my unkempt lawn
            to defy the passage of time.
A stone, big as my thumb, dislodged by a pigeon,
            rolled down my hill yesterday.
It sits on my dresser, a small monument in honor
            of every chance that’s ever come my way.
I light a candle for breakfast, think about the distances
            between then and now.
I’m holding the door open for what I think may be the song
            the young woman in the grocery
            said reminded her of me.

Tonight, the moon stands tiptoe in the mackerel clouds,
            its shimmering halo pierced by Jupiter.
I can hear the stars singing that young woman’s name. 
I keep the door open.
I listen for those echoes to come singing through the forest.
I wait for the trucker carrying a song
            filled with enough silence to whisper the truth.
I open my arms for it, for her, open myself to the chance
            it was never her song alone, but ours.

Marc Harshman’s fourteenth children’s book, Fallingwater, co-written with Anna Egan Smucker, was published by Roaring Brook/Macmillan in 2017. His poetry collection, Believe What You Can, was published in 2016 by West Virginia University Press and won the Weatherford Award from the Appalachian Studies Association/Berea College. Periodical publications include The Chariton Review, Salamander, Shenandoah, and Poetry Salzburg Review. Poems have been anthologized by Kent State University, the University of Iowa, University of Georgia, and the University of Arizona. He is the seventh poet laureate of West Virginia.

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