Then

ounds.
If it were then
I’d be seated on the step of the well house now

gazing at peach tree buds and the tales they told
of waiting, swelling, being
listening with the lake at my back
down and through the steep slope of woods
across the street. I’d see its gleaming surface
spark through voids 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 there’d be 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 olfactory unison,
lavender blooms bundled like choirs
whose songs rose from their bush of pied shadows
performing sweet chemical chansons for my nose

that day would have been as young as this 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