My favorite color by far
is the blush at the exact place
where a leaf unfurls
from stalk or stem.
It is the genius of a thing
to be simple and clear
and handed over in a way
that feels like blessing.
Some people appear
among us this way.
I don’t see how
we would make it though
If this were not so.
Sometimes, we follow them.
Sometimes, we kill them.
Swallows still soar
above the bell tower
and cobbled square
where once you stood
stem naked as you left
the lush, shimmering world
of your father’s making
to don the coarse fabric
of the mendicant. You
took up your walking stick
and strode into winter:
You, who could never
be thin enough.
Yours, a great romantic
vision that breaks so many
broke you, and you, if asked
would do it all again.
Our Childhood Constituency
Older people were always around like hollyhocks
there among us for years and years and years
softening the boundaries of trespass.
Outward facing and unfussy, they carried themselves
without a whiff of self-consciousness
whatever anyone thought of their rangy demeanor
always some knob or caper: as if they made it up
as they went along, while little girls like us waited
for stalks to bloom in that sherbet blush and swirl
of crinoline and an astonishing wand topping off a yellow mist:
This progeny, the haze of memory that saw us through
as we went to and fro. There they were – a line-up audience
for a parade of us. Over time, they leaned on one another.
Sere and tallish still, they cast taller shadows on those sun-washed walls
that underwrote their days that became years and years
that became our years and years.