Friday, April 26, 2013

The Man Goes on Knocking at a Door

It might be a metaphoric door. He might be me. The man goes on knocking at a door. Not pounding. Not banging it down. Soft knocks. Like clearing his throat. To say, I’m here. There is no wall to either side. No ceiling above. Just a frame, a door, a stout lock. There are probably hinges. He is on a path that led him to this door. He is sure the path goes through. To somewhere. To someone. He’s sure. As sure as he’s sure of anything he’s not sure of. He goes on knocking. Waiting for any answer. He thinks he called ahead. He remembers a letter he wrote or a vow he swore. Something. He remembers, but not clearly. Not how we expect to remember words we recite in whispers to ourselves or speak with hand on heart. He keeps knocking. Whispering again. Saying, it has been so long. His hand is cracking. He is hungry. He thirsts. He closes his eyes as if to sleep. But the man goes on. Knocking at a door.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

A Lull Complete

I am a child. In a too hot summer. No wind, only sweat and burning skin. This is the shore of Maine. Blue Hill Bay. The tide is far, far out. I sit with my mother on rocks. The gulls have taken the day off. But not the sailors. A sailboat race is stalled on the still ocean. In the still air. A lull complete. Our neighbor is out there. His sails slack, hanging. Sheets without wind. Others pull down their canvases. They start motors and are gone. But our neighbor is steadfast. He waits on the wind. Mother admires this. Sings his praises. She says amen. But I see a boat unmoved. A man stranded. The sun drips down the melting sky. It fades. The heat does not. The tide comes in. Mother and I move to high ground. The sailor waits. I watch. My mother sighs. Hers, the smallest breeze. My skin is crisp, roasted. I am thirsty. I blink into the setting sun and the boat is gone. The sailor too. And also my mother. Time has passed and passes. Yet there is still no wind.

Thursday, April 18, 2013


The ghosts take the bus into town. They board quietly. Perhaps silently. But that’s hard to believe. They collect transfer tickets. Take a second bus to my door. They arrive in the evening, these ghosts. Before bed. A few slip inside as I let the dog out. The rest as I let her back in. I feel their pull as I go up the stairs. Kiss my sleeping daughters. Keep myself awake. I almost see them around the bed as my wife climbs in. When I fade into sleep they cover me. Clench my jaw. Roll my body. I feel their chill through a scrim of sweat. By morning they’ve risen. Clouds of a grey day. A threat of rain. I’m tired. Clammy. My jaw aches. Am I getting sick? I’m awake to dreams and nightmares of the past. And questions. The ghosts aren’t talking. They hang in the air quiet as memory. Perhaps silently. But that’s hard to believe.