The road, a sweep of Route 29

driving north to Lambertville

loiters alongside the snaking Delaware

and the D&R towpath

past the shores of Washington’s crossing.

In winter, mutilated sycamores

ash and oak

hang over paved road

their arms, once mighty

recklessly amputated

by PSE&G, to expose charged wires

like muscular old longshoremen

bulky and stunted

leaning precariously, threatening motorists.

Gnarled roots buried in dirt

confined by a saw-toothed stone wall

surrounding nature’s ugly creatures

harnessing misshapen tendrils

that stretch across the highway

untamed like Medusa’s mythical locks.

Poison ivy is surely hidden

within this disfigured forest

exquisite in its grotesqueness

barren, weathered, wizened.

Yet, in spring arousal

rotted leaves yield to aromatic air

the Delaware caresses the shoreline

as new life emerges beneath the loam.

Wildflowers pop up

dot the landscape with bloodroot

blue violets and yellow flags.

A jade and emerald canopy grazes the dormant limbs that rise

like twisted old men waking from a winter’s sleep

ignored by the supple woodland nymphs.

Jo Sutera lives in Hamilton and belongs to several writing groups in Princeton.

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