All Souls Crossing
Black pond coming off the sturdy pines
Through shaking banks of phlox
To the simple white cottage. Why not here?
All of us queuing up politely by the screen door
Until we remember, as at first it’s hard to remember,
The habit of souls no longer clothed in bodies so new—
And will it be broad as a whale path, the crossing?
Or thin as willow bark strips—dark stature
Of your father, fire in hand, rising to my grandfather’s knock,
Your brother a boy again under a thatch of bangs
Barefoot on a flying chase. Think of it now
Before white clouds drum and you haven’t a minute
As soul flies its quick heel through slender squares
Of window screen, into the loose whispers of hide-and-seek
Under beach plum, collapsing lawn chairs, crazy-eighting
In and out of house and garden, the shoved scud
Of an upstairs bed sliding, a slammed door’s catch and hit.
Quick, slip into the garden’s musk-rut, deliberate
As a dozen honeybees at work, headfirst into blue throats
Of catnip. Stock-still under capes of sunflowers,
A white-throated sparrow balances, his one song
Repeating in the brassy, ever-changing light
Before earth goes and the curtains pressing
To window and jamb are suddenly still.