Tag Archives: Cape Cod

Solstice

Solstice

Unseen rain four hours away on the black horizon.
While you focus on the empty branches above your head

the stars blur into overcast, a milky blue apology
the child within me will not accept.

The Cape Cod inlets flow through him
like the roots of these trees thread mountains.

He is a trick of the light, of beach grass and sand.
And now the days are too short, he will never get home.

Vanishing Tracks (II)

Vanishing Tracks (II)

What is resilient in us is resistant to memory
When the memory goes she will be some other self
Still resilient to the sailing light and shadow
And hungers and exhaustions of love
Made maybe even more immediate

When the resilience goes what is that then

When the resistance goes what is that

Just outside her heart she hears a sound in the night
I am out there knocking on the dusty porch
I have brought a friend with me
When she opens the door will she see herself
Holding my hand?

Do you remember when the car door opened up
As you drove and I hung out there clinging to it
Legs dangling and hollering your name?

Do you remember hollering my name
In encouragement
As you sat in the bleachers to watch
The smallest second baseman ever?

Do you remember the rides on rainy days to school
In the golden Rambler you called Goldilocks
Your children and their friends sitting forward
And backward like sardines to fit more of us into the back seat?

You spent so much time doing these things you have the right
Not to remember

Nothing can change what you have done
What it has made in me
I will remember these things
For you and when I can no longer remember
Nothing can change what you have done

Everything I can remember makes up only a small part of your life
The rest of it now becomes more you to me I see that now
You become your childhood your mother in that picture
Is you now as you look at it which is not
A bad thing as you tell me laughing
Your nephew becomes your father in that picture
Standing beside you younger than you somehow
It doesn’t matter
He has always stood beside you
From the moment he died when you were thirteen he was there
And you grew older as he remained a young father
I only understand now
how you see that picture

The mind’s tide’s becalmed
The beach endless
These memories now rise
Or settle
With little difference in depth
To the step of the moment that splashes

*

In a Dream [from Vanishing Tracks]

In a Dream [from Vanishing Tracks]

In a dream I am in a car
racing backwards in slow motion
through a neighborhood being progressively
unbuilt, earth and foundation
appearing as shingles and windows fly away,
sod pulled up from red clay, native
shrubs waiting for the foundations to liquidize
and evaporate then moving back in,
and finally large rocks which we
never moved to make way for the houses
that were not built after all
and the road itself turns to gravel then dirt
undergrowth and pine needles rushing in,
and as the car itself begins to loosen
the sky darkens with shadows
coming towards me at the
speed of trees never cut down

*

[Another poem from from the series “Markers” and the book Vanishing Tracks.]

The Stones

The Stones

 

Winter begins in the stones. In a dream the sky house
gets closer as if it is trying to hear a secret or tell me one

but when I can read its lips I see it is just pretending.
In the car: stones from a trip to the beach.

A thousand miles from where we found them
for months they have rested in a drink holder

with no discernible nature acting on them,
no car tides or car gulls have hampered their stillness.

Now when we pick them up on a drive we marvel
at how cold they are on this mild first day of November.

You can press them to your hand, your neck, your cheek
and they stay cold. They are telling me a secret

without moving their lips or pretending to tell me anything.
They are coming closer without moving, like snow clouds.

from “The Drift”

fromthedrift

from The Drift

 

In the dream the same beach
we’ve never been to together

is calling though once we stood
on a jetty watching the sun

read the gathering clouds
the riot act sometimes you have

to lower yourself as well to circumstances
to rise some place else entirely

*

The waves here
slide across and beneath

each moment grand tectonics
some brought to level

annihilation by incremental loss
some subsumed by a surge

of gain so that what they’ve gained
gains them in final shape

Nobscusset Burial Ground, Dennis MA

Nobscusset Burial Ground, Dennis MA

 

The path off the two-lane road is as quiet and straight as an unread sentence.
There are no accidental visits to this ground. You have to ask around

at the lakeside potter for directions, itself a place you have to ask
around to find, and even then you miss the entrance because it’s

nothing more than a shadow between high shrubs and a fence,
and you have to get out of your car and cross the street

to find it, grassy area surrounded by trees and houses yet secluded
just up a rise from the edge of Scargo Lake, whose waves are the soft

clap of a hand on a familiar shoulder. There are no markers of any kind
but everywhere offerings—nickels, beads, feathers woven into star shape,

a wreath of sticks hung atop one of the granite border stones, things made
by hands left at the foot of a tree or placed on a branch, and underneath

the skin of the earth the force of something still vibrating at blood
frequency. Almost four centuries since their sachem, their sagamore,

Mashatampaine, walked over this ground when everyone knew
death was larger than life but here you feel it, there are more

signs of it than there are letters in the spelling of his name, he’s
in the pulse of the pottery made on the other side of the small lake,

the vibration that shivers the calm water just before sunset viewed
from Scargo Tower, the twitch of the fox through the scrub oak

under the cover of dusk and wild blueberry. For a person used
to tombstones and crypts there is something naked here in the pine

needles and piles of coins and cigarettes and offerings. It’s the living
speaking to the living, and the dead are listening, they listen.

ScargoSunset