Early Morning Walks
In the middle of Commercial Street R complains that a wispy horse mane cloud is marring the perfect blue sky. That’s what he’s saying when I stop. This is him, shaking his head, Marring, marring— like an old Chinese poet mourning the loss of a beloved city We look together, we compare the offending cloud to yesterday’s luscious cumulus Though R’s memory of yesterday isn’t what it used to be he agrees that was one made you want to reach out and hug it. I hug him he hugs me, yesterday disappearing easily, its clouds… * M stops her old bike to tell me about a new form of breathing which I hear as a new form of grieving Why can’t I remember what she’s lost? What’s happened? Who does she mourn? I can’t imagine what the new form could be— Oh, what use is what she knows that I don’t know? What more am I willing to learn? * On the flats two gymnasts in mirroring postures, sculptural, invulnerable. The tide out this little moment. Old wooden houses inherited for generations, additions jerry-built over the past century from spit and salvage. The old order: how sturdy they look— yet fragile— dilapidated homes with names hand-painted, repainted above the doors by children, grandchildren Harmony Sea Barn Snug Harbor Wannacum Inn * I sat with you this August morning on an overturned dory when the tide was out I didn’t know your name without language you taught me how to watch the minnows and the foraging birds we were a hundred miles from the city, its rage and fire— then I walked alone for a while, alone again as I’ve been so long I felt as if I’d forgotten how to look at anything— the black head of a gull the skittery moves of the sanderlings a brilliant kite stalled in the sky and looking was like discovering I could sing, not well, even off-key but sweetly and though I never learned your name today I felt companioned not so much by you as by the creatures I was learning to watch….