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.

Faith

A low, dense day, shorn of tinsel
and the great bauble of the sun –
the air clings like an unwanted lover,
the spaces between the points

in these digital hours lose form
as soon as they’re suggested.

So much of life is expectation,
the will to imagine a future,
as if now were not all there ever was.

Still, I don’t doubt the earth will turn
and the sun will seem to rise
whether I’m here to share the illusion
or not.

The mind scrambles input, remixes
and dethrones it all for
want of diversion, the past recedes
behind us exactly as far as we bother
to imagine it, and the future

disappears within our grasp, like some
bitter-sweet version of cotton candy.

And yet, when the doorbell rings
I rush to answer it.