This poem appeared in Women’s Press, the July-August 2007 issue. It comes from an episode in my past, when my family bought a summer place in Ontario, Canada. The house had been abandoned for years, and was still filled with the possessions of the previous, now-dead, owners. The process of clearing it out was traumatic for me.
Dilapidated, shingled roof of green,
A musty yard begs little feet to roam.
The long abandoned place stands sad, serene;
So dank and cold and yet so like a home.
A faded rose, a tarnished silver knife,
Papers, books, the treasure of her store,
packed up with love and care they taste of life;
The life of Anna who comes back no more.
I open notebooks, reading what she said;
I seem to feel her presence quite nearby.
Nonsense, they’re just remnants of the dead;
Yet with each toss I hear her anguished cry.
And I think while watching flames eat hungrily,
That someday someone will burn my memory.
I was at a pool party, and when I told the young man I’d just met that I was a poet, he didn’t believe me. So, I sat him on a chaise covered in shadow, looked deep in his eyes, and spoke (still untitled). Changed his mind in a hurry!
there the night,
pale and waning as though the dawn
but never did it
for you and I and the night were one,
and darkness covered all