Then

.
if it were then

I’d be seated on the step
of the well house
gazing at peach buds, 
seeing the tales they told
of waiting swelling being
listening with the lake at my back 
shining down a slope through woods
its surface gleaming sparking
through a lattice of oaks

and strangling bittersweet 
which climbed and throttled them   
….. if I turned
 
….. if I turned
I’d hear shouts
and the splash of swimmers
with arms like mine
unconsciously prime 
no effort but ease
………………….. raw amplitudes
caught in the topology of pink folds 
sprung from the sides of my head
like wings 

….. and birds of course that sing 
species unknown to me then
just birds, robins at least,
the first I knew specifically
by their russet breasts 
pointed out to me by dad 
or mom may be 
though now, by this time
that certainty’s as gone as the mist 
that rose at sunrise from the lake

….. gone

all except the tender sense of it 
the ache that clings like the lilac scent of the bush 
not far from the well house at the corner of the drive
that stood its ground against the plow
which passed again and again 
heaving its cold load upon it
at the curb      

….. never say die 
its blossoms summersang later
in the language of scent, 
blossoms bundled like voices whose songs
rose from their bush of pied shadows 
singing redolent chemical chansons for my nose
….. that day

….. that day
….. then
would have been
as young as this day, but 
less weighted 
less fraught
less freighted
less shadow-cast

I’d be seated on the well house step
inconsiderate of the future 
and unperturbed by the past

Jim Culleny
7/28/17