escarpment

the years I lived slept

autumn beginning of winter

to the rising tone of the trees

above me on my green hill

the wind whipping through

a gentle roar that never grew

to a full howl or decline

until the snows came

bringing their hush

stoppage to the day

the wind the dark night

all now in half light or blind glare

foot paw prints that appeared

disappear

of white ghosts gone to sleep

no warmth

Larkin

had it just about right

my mother would flit in

out of my life

appear & disappear

leaving me standing

watching her back

vanish into the crowd

tell me she loved me

then be gone

my only evidence of her

for many years

were the holes

made by her high heels

into a fresh asphalt path

I’d see these every day

on my way to school

wondering if & when

I might see her again

leaving nothing

no warmth

nothing at all

but emptiness

some slight ceremony

a cheap room paid by the week

there along the shore

& the landlady did not bother

in the least

I found a piece of driftwood

beaten by tides time the sand

brought it to what was home

let it dry a day or two

just outside the door

dragged it in set it up on the drawer

became my meditation piece

something to stare at

until the landlady came knocking

that piece of wood is stinking

smells of dead seaweed

if you keep it indoors

I’m going to have to ask you

to leave

that night I dragged it back

whence it came

some slight ceremony

pushed it back into the waves

watched it float

disappear from view

made my way back to my cheap room

meditated on the empty drawer

for a little while

feeling I could not leave

too soon