letting go of
body/earth mortality
a haunting creeps in
It has the appearance of anonymity
but it's not!
It's the reluctance to wrap things up.
Easier to play the game of living forever in one body,
the appearance of anonymity comes
with the ego, the soul self slipping away,
fading like will-o'-the wisp
in a Pocono Mountain valley
where two years I lived with Pennsylvania Dutch
headless dogs in the mist
and a ghost rat running
from a coal bucket
they called them.

With the appearance of anonymity
which is as ephemeral as will o' the wisp
memories seep in
like the waters of Pocono lake
in self leaving ego,
I see will-o'-the wisp
and the fearful tokens
of Pocono Lake
to the stoic husband whose
wife traditionally
works for Philadelphia
tourists, year round the husband
like all other mountain husbands
has no work
but hunting
bear, deer out of season
venison neatly packed away
in the freezer, fooling the
game warden, but he knows.

Will-o'-the wisp
comes gauze-like into memory,
fogged already with unfamiliarity
revelations, sudden glimpses of the
Universe as a place in your mind
accessed only by death
and this feeling of anonymity
which in reality
is the reluctance to wrap it all up

A disappearing ego,
soul self slipping away
and the Pocono come to mind,
earthy laughter that would not dance,
but wanted to dance.
where would it go without dance halls?
Young ones stumble into a dance of their own
and it begins again, girl becomes
woman, bakes a dozen pies
in one afternoon
and sits with other women,
all winter
sewing quilts,
the sameness of the
women winter quilting
and the men winter hunting
bear strapped on top of small car,
stalled in the parsonage driveway which
extended to the deep of the woods.

Mountain folk
superior, satisfied
and close to the earth
I think of them
solid in their bodies
yet secrets ephemeral
as the will- o'-the wisp
that clung between the mountains
like cotton candy

Memories of will- o'-the wisp
earthy mountain folk
Tall tales of
the Long Pond Feifers, aloof, inter-marrying
and merrily feuding, beware!

Amorphous memories
tokens, that were signs of doom
a headless dog in the will o' the wisp
amazon women supporting their husbands
husbands telling stories
cleaning their guns.
In the winter snow
lost hunters coming in through an unlocked
door seeking warmth on a coal furnace grate.

You may escape the feeling of
by holding your archives in your hand
saying, convincingly, "These are me,"
your archives may be as significant
to someone
as the headless dog.

My Pennsylvania Dutch neighbor
told me in awed tones, as
under a spell,
"I have seen the headless dog
in the will- o'-the wisp
and it was really there,
I saw it in the mist, it is a token, an omen
of something ephemeral, maybe life ending
suddenly transparent, what I thought
was not, and what was not, perhaps is,
like a car traveling fast, through
the rear window, the mountain disappearing
behind you........

For a moment, it felt like anonymity.

© Dorothy Jesse Beagle

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