Words Then

And then,

There was the hard moment when I looked up

at Ross and noticed that the soil brown hair

he'd had since Mom met him was now soft, silvering;

When I noticed the quiet passing

of the gray and austere sheet of Maine fog,

in October, curtained behind him, behind

the preist, the pines, the bog, the procession.

He'd -did I?- given her the soil, to the soil,

Then crossed over to me, to my sister, and I only heard

The snap and hiss of frozen jackets

against each other when we sifted into

an inevitable hug in the gloaming.

                                        The sound seemed -seems- to be stuck

in the silent mist, as it drifted out and veiled          -and veils and drifts

before ascending up into the odd-shaped clouds,

or rests in the roots, dirt, and rocks.

I don't know

what kind (of) thing he might have said

          -what were words then?

There was the drive from Denmark, Maine

Back to Wallingford for seven hours,

when I tried to string together carefully -carefully

the disembodied reflections on the inside

of Dad's car windows in the back seat into

that time when my sister and I spilt ramen

all over Mom's stove. The time when we stopped

the car to convince her we still loved her

even in Maine, in that Ford she named Faith.

That time that time that time and that time too.

But what were pictures then?

And Then,

it was raining in Springfield, it was in Hartford

And all I could still see was a window,

With some pitch pine oaks, three collies in a park,

Skulls, pumpkins, bats, webs in the Walgreens,

That she didn't get chance to decorate the trailer with

Passing on and on in screaming shades of life.

Too many gorgeously dead leaves leaping

out of their hardscrabble trees and dancing

down into the dirt without words.


At Dick's General

Same old, same old shit different day Murphy announces
In a smiled sigh across the seated counter
Every day of the week that ended in "y" in the
Mornings at Dick's General. He was a clot of dirt-dusted
Carhartt and mustarded teeth and he'll have another burnt cup
To go, like his wife might have another schmo in line.

Same old, same old shit different day, and Murph
Is pressing Brads into a thick-headed oak panel
outside with the overwet rain, water not heavy
but swollen under his skin like balloons and
ambivalent to the breeze. Like the carburetor's wheezing
swan song and Shit he forgot the nail-gun anyway -
never worked to begin with.

The scent of grandmother's basements and oil
tankers cling to him like the words, same old,
same old shit different day. And the day was never
different. Bobby, the pencil thin ass
for a son always needed his bail and booze,
and bail for the booze, and booze after that;
Julia, associated with both, did the same.

The third cousin to anyone's niece knew Murph, S.o.S.o.

Dick turned the Closed sign over the last time,
And Murph saddled out to work without a sigh or moan,
And the sun' glint suddenly looked less yellow than bronze
As it jabbed through his windshield on East Main.
Murph sits silent, and listens to a happy silence.
That might be all his own.