Then

ounds.

If it were then
I’d be seated on the step
of the well house now 
gazing at peach buds
and the tales they told
of waiting, swelling, being
listening with the lake at my back 
shining through a slope of woods

…… I’d see its gleaming surface 
spark through a lattice of oaks
and the strangling bittersweet 
that climbed and throttled them   
….. if I turned
 
….. if I turned
I’d hear the shouts
and splash of swimmers
with muscles like mine,
unconsciously prime, 
no effort just ease,
sounds, raw amplitudes
caught in the topology of pink folds 
that 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 perhaps, 
though by this time
that certainty’s as gone as the mist 
that rose at sunrise from that lake

….. gone

all except the tender sense of it: 
the ache that clings
like the scent of lilac from the bush 
that, not far from the well house 
at the corner of the drive,
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 summer-sang later
in the language of scent, blossoms
bundled like choirs whose songs
rose from their bush of pied shadows 
performing redolent chemical
chansons for my nose
….. that day would have been
as young as this day then,
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

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