Susan Spillman

Cardinal Points

He fell from a windmill.

After a cloudless morning spent
hunched on uneven ground,
uncovering all undone tasks,
duties he’d let slip,
he changed his mind.

No wife nagged, no emergency rose,
no one visited his farm
complaining of disrepair
over repeating seasons. He’d left his land
wild, till the compass shifted—

a broken blade freed
an unnatural strident clang,
tempted his gaze—
he could not forget the wind,
a warning wakened by water.

He’d stopped driving
after he struck the school bus.
Rain came, he’d let it drop
across the windshield, clicked
his key off, parked.

His boots were still good,
the tower rusted, but strong
for his slight weight, steps
a crazy stairway to heaven, fixing
the pitch to catch the wind.

No foolishness
girdered callused hands,
but the calling of the wind,
fifty feet’s nothin’ but one after fifty.
He didn’t slip, but fell

when his heart gave out.


Susan Spillman: Bio

Susan Spillman: Artist Statement

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