Dream of the Homeplace
oaks regrown, cornfields stretching to woods,
standing, unstruck by lightning.
of the screen door, climb to the attic,
feet parting dust like fish part water.
spill, his pole and rusted tackle,
wedding dress ghost floats by the window.
dull slapping sound, wake against a boat,
a storm picks up, and I periscope
of the house. Laundry flaps on the line.
slashes of sudden summer rain
their way up the hill, bending the stalks
by row, and my hair has grown wispy
wild, lifting, swaying in the currents
seaweed, petrichor rising, rushing
the meadow, a benediction.
long gown wraps me like a winding sheet,
beard white and thick as Methuselah’s,
with bits caught there like shiny lures
a tangled fisherman’s line, dangling,
seed pod, an old key, a golden charm.
I wake up, the homeplace is still gone.
garden is still cemented over.
is nothing there now but roads and shops,
bone sidewalks, a dense townhouse forest.
watery breezes through high trees there,
orioles weaving a teardrop nest,
fireflies swim in darkening green there,
drops on the sill now, no dear ones, no door.
is gone now, but the dry
wind of memory, against which I lean.
in a vernal
Arch your neck
to the greening
Lift waxy veils
to the flowers
a star in your heart made of blue light,
therapist says. Not the gold stars stamped
the stapled graphs of my childhood.
the bright yellow stars that I drew
the green hill and red house.
imagine one more like a stargazer lily,
way it might open slowly and linger
air, as whispers between lovers
early morning. Or maybe it compares
the spare stars of winter, elegant pinpoints,
slow waltz of soldiers and ladies above snow.
summer, stars are swimming in cream,
across blue velvet and blurry
hopscotch chalk after a long day of play.
kept me up as a child, awake
hide and seek, swinging through the yard.
didn’t know then about stars being born,
dying, imploding, going supernova,
falling into categories like tubes
paint: giant red, blue dwarf, double yellow.
were friends then, guardians, someone to hear
confessions. Sometimes hands shine like stars
the glass, waving hello, farewell,
code of transition: you are leaving,
am staying, take me with you, this is goodbye.
into the star and make it grow brighter.
glows like the signal we’ve come to an end.
the universe of Hollywood,
star like Audrey Hepburn waves to a star
Fred Astaire, and I cry too, strings tugging
puppet tears, stardust softening her face,
glistening like the star on Glenda’s wand
circles around the scene. A pretty joke
you see, to mistake the reflection
someone’s eyes for something else,
entire galaxy of love, true
the speed of light, when it’s only
dropperful of atoms bouncing back,
more meaning than sunshine
an apple. There is no echo
some farther star, lodged like mine
such dark matter. No, my cookie-cutter.
must be the bright and shining horse
hitch my broken wagon to. Yes, my starfish,
star of wonder and wish-I-might, you’ll have to do.
…from the reflection of this light the
air all around will be coloured
as we see it to be, as the sun shines upon its parts… ~Epicurus of Samos
though we both stand on the porch and trace
double curve over the valley, we don’t
the same rainbows. Waves of light pass through
of water and break open along a single line of sight.
swallows swoop over the meadow, and two rabbits
onto the lawn from the tall grass. The first bow
across a plane of air. Then the second appears,
disappears, now on this side, now on that,
magician’s trick of red to violet, violet
red, now you see it, now you don’t.
deeper blue between the two is a trap door
in the light, which enters but can’t return,
Alexander’s Dark Band. He explained it first
in the year 200. Imagine taking time to stop
and ponder rain. Some accident of light, the optics
possibility and limit. Something breaks each of us open
try as we might. It’s not easy
reveal our own surprising set of parts.
way a page in a book cracks open the world’s colours.
the first time I met your face, shining like an old friend
off a train, igniting a thundercloud
my chest. A double rainbow is gift
the rain and clouds move away to the east.
Centuries later, Felix Billet saw nineteen bows
his light chamber. If our eyes were able, he said,
would find the sky filled with arcs, arcs crossing
arcs, almost into infinity.
A rose of rainbows,
called it. Perhaps when one body passes through
it leaves a trail in the sky of memory,
the shadow of the mountain walking across the valley,
familiar space which tracks between us,
swallows on the birdhouse, the rabbits
in tandem. The rainbow is not located
the sky. It travels in waves to our eyes.