Figures in a Landscape

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By George Mills

I was sitting on the back steps

mumbling a toothpick,

thinking about the mayflies

dying in the kitchen sink.

My reveries kept changing sex,

then flew off into a frenzy

of cathedral building.

How sad, I thought, that I will add

nothing to oblivion.

That’s when I looked up, stepped off

into the landscape of these nine

(count them slowly!) enchanted women.

A retired anthropology professor turned landscaper, the quixotic George Mills was a well-loved figure in the Vineyard poetry community. Until his death in 2001, George and his wife Florrie shared a small home in Oak Bluffs, where they hosted frequent gatherings of poets, musicians, activists, and other thinkers.