Summer's over, and we never even
drank at the Ocean House, that yellow
elegance they'll tear down this year.
Wind sweeps the locust leaves sideways,
read the journals
of Dorothy Wordsworth: the lucid days,
walks, wet skirts twisted around ankles,
scrambles up rocks and through damp fields.
Swallows nest above her cottage window.
She bakes bread, cuts and turns sheets,
papers a room. Dinner in bed for her brother
William, mutton. John, the other brother,
captain of a great ship bound for China.
Lowering clouds and a swallow swept sideways,
comfrey and laudanum sleep, all gone now,
those torn-up lives. A storm knocks windows.
Windfalls, hard green knobs in the grass,
gather wasps in the orchard.
Half-rotted, wormy, the ones we found here,
boiled and boiled to a pale jelly, celandine,
or someone's hesitant birthstone.
I stash a jar in the back cupboard,
for good luck, sweet talisman against rot.
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