This entry is part 13 of 29 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Winter 2012-13


Leave it; you don’t want to dwell there, you don’t want to know what might have happened if it didn’t happen the way it did.

At times it is impossible to tell intention from intervention, the thorny stalk from the hedge, floss from the papery husk. In the dark, you might think it hardly matters, but it does, it does.

And the bud? It might have been white, red, or yellow; a bird might have plucked it from the stalk.

Say happenstance, say accident, say unthinking. But no matter, someone decreed that you had to pay.

Sentiment costs; nostalgia’s a big cottage industry, especially when there are poets locked up in cells, beasts that pace the ramparts worrying about deflation and capital gains in the real world.

Under the eaves, wind mingles with the sounds of haunted things: mouth harp, train whistle, gypsy cutting through the woods.

Once, at a writers’ retreat, I slept in the tower room. Toward the end of the week, near dawn, a weight, a shape, sat on my chest and refused to move. For a few seconds I struggled toward the light-pull. Was it a dream, or had there been too much salt on the baked salmon at dinner?

I cannot live your lives again, o ghostly ones. But I can walk to the balcony and look down at the river where your faces occasionally swim up under moonlight. I can collect your delicate ululations like pearls, one by one on a line.


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