Once, in springtime

It was a day much like this,
wasn’t it?
You sat in the large chair
doors and windows open
spring breeze drifting through
the empty house.

You closed your eyes.
Birds bickered
in the dusk-tinged trees.

The smell of lilacs,
the texture of your clothes
against your skin,
the sound of children
somewhere down the street,
a stray, feral jackhammer,
barely noticed.

Suddenly you saw
your mother’s face,
heard her voice, so
natural, so matter-of-fact,
say your name,

and all the secret places
returned, as if never forgotten.
the space behind the furnace,
ancient, pointless bits of coal
still strewn across the floor,

The back-porch roof,
the gully out back where
you tipped autumn leaves
and slid downhill on
flattened be-dusted cardboard,

and down the network of alleyways
that bound the city together,
the far corner of the library,
that smelt of old paper,

and there, in the park
that was wilderness and comfort,
the boulder next to the creek
that ran a rainbow of color

from the factories upstream,
the solitary water strider
hovering alone over
its desolate domain.

Once you found a ring there,
bristling with keys,
the locks to which were
long forgotten.

Later, in a dream, you saw
your ship sailing without you,
your bags on the pier,
and you, turning, seeing the port
as if for the first time.

Reunion

After hours of fitful turning,
Georgie fell to sleeping,
The rasping cough too strenuous
The light too ambiguous,
His eyelids too large to will open

In his dream,
All that ever was and all that shall be
Converged on him, and he saw the limitless
And held it close to his heart

He saw the child’s Christmas, one with
Rubble-strewn streets and bomb-laced
Windows, the spanking cry of new-born
Wrinkled joy, one with tear-washed dead lips
Of a life, spent and discarded, brushed aside

He saw the stars, new and old, explode eternally,
Worlds awash with life and others bereft of it
And tiny, forlorn pulses in ancient crevices,
Which would have been long forgotten
Had anyone ever known of them.

He could see them all, and all seemed dear,
The sublime and the petty,
The ecstasy and the torment,
Down to the final finalness, indistinguishable
From the beginning

Even down to the last corner of the vastness,
Down to the last lonely planet
Where Georgie lay on the gurney,
The sheet pulled over his unblinking face.