Tethering

Finally you think you can afford to have
the gum tree taken down in back— the one
that bends menacingly toward your roof
and the neighbors’ in a gale; and through
all four seasons but especially in fall,
peppers the yard with its signature
spiky grenades. Finally you’ve put more
pictures on the wall, the ones that leaned
in their frames behind the china drawer.
And at long last, you took the pair
of painted glass candlesticks out of their
paper wrappers— a wedding gift— and soaped
and rinsed them along with their matching
serving bowl. Now they glisten on the dish
rack, waiting to hold some ordinary week night
supper. How long does it take before a place
begins to feel like home, before the mind stops
wistfully turning to that other place it remembers
so well, but doesn’t exist in the same way anymore?
At night you still know the old restlessness:
it echoes in the sombre call and response of owls
in the trees. By day, you marvel at how the body long
trained by habit takes up its tasks; at how a single
tender stroke can feather a door open through which
you can hear a soft rain falling, or the blood trickling
from a rooster’s severed neck into a porcelain bowl.

 

In response to Via Negativa: Lovers' conversation.

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