Manzano Mountain Review is an online New Mexico literary journal affiliated with UNM-Valencia.

After Meadow Moved Away

by Rich Boucher

“Fill my eyes
O Lithium sunset
And take this lonesome burden
Of worry from my mind” - Sting
If you ask me, I’d say
the edge of the woods began
where I guess they were always meant to,
back behind that quiet Cape Cod house
at the bottom of West Barkus Road,
the silent one the color of a long-forgotten avocado
at fifteen minutes to blood orange dusk,
those woods we thought of as the real world
when the calendar came to June,
the world we excitedly preferred
to the primary color jungle of the elementary school,
those Summer noons so vast and free
with the busy working world
driving in cars on the roads
far away from our time for make-believe,
and we all would converge behind that house
before looking for trouble in the trees together,
that place that used to be Meadow Shaw’s home
that house that had to remain Meadow’s home
for years in our minds even after she moved away.
We’d meet there after our mothers gave us our lunches
and march across that back yard and over the tree line together,
looking for whatever trouble the sunlight could land on
and we all liked her; she was one of us
one of our little gang
in our small army
and it never mattered that she was a girl
although there was magic in her being a girl
that we used to wonder about
walking home together
after her mother would call her in,
and we heard someone say at school
one frozen morning that Autumn
that her parents had to move
because of her father’s job
and we were too young to do anything
but hate the pain we felt at losing a friend,
too young because jobs didn’t just do things to grownups
jobs did things to the kids that belonged to the grownups
and in the summer that came after her,
we would still meet behind that house
as soon as we saw the sunlight going pale and fading,
and we would still walk into the dark together
(because what does friendship mean
if not that these are the people
you need with you when things get dark)
but it was never the same
and before Meadow moved away
the sound of near and distant birds and bees and airplanes
and the smell of jasmine and gasoline
dazzled me in the blinding blue of the middle of the day
in the silencing glare of the Summer sun
while I just stood there, lost in daydream
while Meadow spoke to me so softly
while a memory took root in me
but I didn’t care much for June
or much for July or much for anything
after Meadow moved away.

Rich Boucher resides in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Rich’s poems have appeared in Gargoyle, The Nervous Breakdown, Soft Cartel, Menacing Hedge, Cultural Weekly and Tinderbox Poetry Journal, among others, and he has work forthcoming in the “Walls” edition of the Poets Speak Anthology and in Street Poet Review. For more, check out He loves his life with his love Leann.