AT THE ORCHARD HOUSE
The children smuggled their treasure
in the hems of their shirts from
the tangled trees to the tub.
Thunk, thunk, each child off again
at a run, their shoes leaving
dark curls on the stone,
dandelion stars in their wake.
The sun fluttered in the west and a slack sail
of cloud came across the sky.
I was keen to join them in the limbs
but I have my place
in the kitchen drying brittle white plates,
placing them in a stack, draping the damp towel
on the wooden rack. Remembering to glance out
where the little bodies hurry. A father's way is to
drift just offshore, shine a hint of light in the mist,
however much he yearns to lean in and dash himself
on those precious wet rocks.
My five-year-old ran off the soccer field
to say he had to go potty. I was sitting at last
and wanted to go on sitting.
Do you want to go by yourself? I asked. Just to see.
Yes! and before I could say but wait
are you sure he hurled himself away
between net and bleacher.
They say when one door closes another opens but
it sucks being in the hallway.
The thing is that sometimes
you don't know you are in a hallway
or that there are doors cupping each end
and you're a fly in a poster tube tipped
this way and that by the hands of a child.
Sometimes you wait on cold metal benches, listening
to Latin music from a distant radio, watching the boy wander
back to the field, hair flecked with water,
shins like young limbs of wood,
suddenly something stronger, stranger, less yours,
here. Just now.
Whatever you call it, it's here for you
now. It's caught you up or you have blundered
through as into a summer web. Fortune,
good works have nothing to do with wonder,
speech-stealing frozenness streaming like mist
not over your body but your still self,
you cannot shift teeth or curl up a fist.
Your whole You is new. No account could tell
you how to breathe or which feeling to draw
like a bead of water across cool metal,
its wet aura trailing what's left of law.
Now the clouds move on, shadows resettle.
This wish for you now and forever more:
Through every door, the whisper, the roar.