Gone for the winter but I’ll be back in the spring. I’ll be back for the warmer weather -back for family and holidays, my mother and sisters and friends. I’ll be back for the great lessons of seasoned professors and pages, and pages, and pages I would’ve read by the pool in June, or at a desk in a dorm room, beside a pillow from a childhood bed. I would’ve been back for the great chances of life, the love of a young woman, an optimistic career. Empty shadows of a house to fill with children and cheer. I would’ve been there a best man, a good friend’s dying day, a dad down on the floor with his children to play -and a wife to keep in warm arms. I would’ve stood in the street and watched the front door and wondered the best time to return: when they were just waking up? when they were seated for dinner? when the kids were in bed (and she on a couch watching Tiffany’s, wondering what happened to love.) I know where I was, for New Year’s and Christmas, for birthdays that never filled in the blanks. I know where I was for baseball and wedding rings, family gatherings and morning commutes: Tallahassee and Wichita, Portland and Phoenix and Brooklyn and Brownsville. Salt flats and mountain stacks, the long wood through Ozark Missouri. A father’s funeral, a child’s birth: an old face in a woodland spruce: night stars and homeless shelters, lean-tos and campfires and a billion stars to sing a whiskey’d song. A life of moss coats and wisened stones, deer hide and squirrel meat and the dirt that makes death a home. So tell me a timeline and I’ll give you mine, a voice that you’ll hear in the wind: I am the face of the mountain, I am the eye in the sun.