What We Hear
As he reads I want to know more
about him so I imagine a home,
a history, while waiting for the final
words of a long poem that reminds me
of long ago Christmas oranges
in the toe of a stocking. He reaches in,
into the past without looking.
It's as if it were my own story
and he may not recognize himself.
That's my mother bathing me
as I stand in the wash tub in front of
the green enamel, chrome trimmed stove.
I grimace, then giggle, as rinse water
pours over my head, down my body.
She brushes wet hair from my face.
At the auction we withheld a dusty
framed photograph of The Homestead as it was
in nineteen thirty. In the picture's lower
foreground flakes of foam float on waves of grass,
blurry images of Queen Anne's Lace in bloom.
The buildings, burned, in eighteen sixty and
rebuilt, had been repaired, expanded, revised,
modernized. Dormer windows budded from roofs.
Ell and shed became dining room and kitchen.
In the barn the hayloft became a dance hall.
The picture was taken from this un-mown meadow where,
age four, I would have played and where, ten years
after the auction, I kneel, age sixty-three, to
photograph where The Homestead had been. Queen Anne's
Lace flowers lie like giant snowflakes in the grass.