between two pieces of China,
perhaps under a rug; did I hide it
or did you hide from me?
somewhere, a cottage, a doorstep destitute;
termite holes, pottery, sheets of unused wood, rugs matted,
chipped floors -- hardly a window;
it took me three hours to finish the walkway; the house
fell to me -- thirty years
of tightening, clasping, bolting and screwing
doors, doors, doors,
always problems with doors.
We lived for some time by a quiet slot of
sand-worn purple sage and morning calm;
no one can quite relate the value of beach property;
spent all of our time by the surf, bearing pen to reed
to wind to tunnel to flood, to inrushing waves, to outpouring spray;
verses upon verses turned over, but never ink to paper.
is behind bookshelves.
I checked under the Chickering, an upright Grand
against the far wall, years cramped
between the keys; small spaces,
your belongings tightly packed, still in question.
Was this our house? was it old or young?
How I remember you -- a wall
indented with last year's calendar; I never turned the page, never made
plans, never left
that which has left me -- to be sought for
in a humble compartment, our dwelling place.
perhaps I swept it into a heap --
stacked it with papers and threw it in a barrel, lost
track of notes you sent me -- letters;
locks to a silent house.
I find the best place to listen
is in your chair, where you sat the strongest; Bach's portrait
and the keys resounding with each bump of wind -- door rattle;
will it fall from the ceiling? I think footsteps. I wait --
but always the wind, always a sage brush of leaves, of torrents,
of sweeping the porch in expectation.
And at night, your sigh
once so familiar, is a gust in the hall
at an endless hour; an unfound watch or post card
shoved in a winter coat, bottles tipped over.
So many places
I might have dropped it, but I am tired now, asleep
but for the dream of it, of a house, our title and deed.