By Richard LaClair

There was a day when my feet knew

the knobs of roots, points of stones,

webs of tripping brush.

And I could run, buck-like, prancing.

Barefoot, flexed easily away

from sharp shafts, pointed sticks.

I loved grey clay oozing between toes

when I splashed across a stream.

Nothing within my eyes’ reach

was foreign, fearful, other.

The song of the wood thrush melted,

quivered in the still evening.

Bird Songs turned baritone

in the thickening night-phone.

Evening tossed pick-up-stick

shadows beyond trees.

The gentle strobe of fireflies

presented a new forest at each step.

All I have ever wanted

is to be steward of this place and time.

RICHARD LACLAIR will join poets Perry Nicholas and Lisa Wiley in a reading at 6:30 p.m. Friday at Impact Artists Gallery, Suite 545, Trimain Building, 2495 Main St., as a part of the gallery’s members art show and reception. An Evans native, he is a professor emeritus of the English Department at Erie Community College. This poem is from his recently published first collection of poems titled “Grand View.”