Thursday, November 16, 2006

the old woman

who is that toughed old woman, wearing leather shoes
and veil? surrounded by these gents i've never seen, old
cloth coats, strings of beads, watching grass beneath

their feet. where are the children, in their run and play?
what an oddsome little gather, shushing whispers, signs
of hex, marigolds in faded clusters, wrapped with ribbons

that surely saw some other day, reeking birthday parties
cakes and icing, candles in the way. yet i feel some darkly
calling, i have gone curious for their chore, what brings them

to this distant place, so far from bed, but more, where
is a kitchen's welcome cup, in this unwholesome air? i've
a fancy to draw near them all, listen to their private pleas,

understand their constant muttering, in a language harsh
and bare, smell their sorrow, smell their fear. and i wonder
if they've noticed me, this stranger in their midst, full of

longing that i can't explain, of a passion gone unclear, who
is this toughed old woman, for i surely know her eyes, know
she sang her lullabies, on late unsettled nights, know she

gossiped with the garden man, placed holly on the door,
mended shirts worn down to a thread, baked sweet biscuits
in the morn. but i've gone traveled, chased a young man's

wilds, looked for riches, looked for love, and have only
made this turning, to this most unlikely place, when i heard
their plaints and falling tears, thought i heard them call my

name. but i've dallied far into the day, there are puzzles
long unsolved, there are lips a man will never kiss, cares
not of his own, paths not meant for roaming, but still

i marvel, i thought i heard them call my name

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