Walking what signs are left of ditches,
you remember the chocolate wadings
near newly turned banks,
the canvas dams of irrigation
weighted with stones and silt.
Rock-picked acres stretch
for more than half your life and beyond,
where returnings have been startled
by thistles grown up since you've gone,
rock piles settled into mounds of sod
mixed with buttercup and nettle.
Steeped in the spring of high mountain light,
even perennial alfalfa leaves
seem vivid, called back
from furrowed darkness
to the fields growing his absence.