Ways to Leave

From the hilltop, take the old road
west and steeply downhill towards
Blue Mounds where Earthmaker sits
to judge the world.  

Or trace the creek. It rises near
the hilltop and meanders southwards
to the river. Or go straight
over the crest

and southeast down to Black Earth Creek
where herons fish and deer graze
beside the fields. So many ways
to leave

this place or any place. And so few
ways to stay: as limestone from
an ancient sea; as shadow, bone
and dust.

—Patricia Monaghan, Black Earth, WI