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Crossing Hyla Brook

by Daniel Rattelle


after Robert Frost


Well I’ll be damned, the old man had it right.

An August day, the air was thick with flies,

and his beloved brook was really just

a streak of muck along the path. The woods

were cool and shady though, and gave

us respite from the sun and buzzing wings.

I risked a leap across but slapped

as if a bullfrog in the mud. It caked

up to my knees; I didn’t mind so much

but sat, the only one around, beneath

a gone-wild apple tree at noon;

I know, some kind of omen. There I scratched

some lines out in the dirt, long washed

away now, by the swollen, snow-melt brook.