small stone (258)

Starlight, furled tightly to those pinpoint masts in the sky. My mind a ship, unmoored, heaving slightly with the black tide of night.

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Night walking

Past the house with loud voices and laughter
falling from open windows;

past the old Winchester rifle factory, shattered panes
and iron gates, their long, decaying sway held fast

in the arms of rusting chains and steady locks.
Past the greenhouse, always lit, and the raccoons

who pause in apprehension from their garden digging
as I pass

under the striated blue loam of evening
and the loess of stars

blown in slow migration across our fading summer;
past the blinkered apartments, the man on a cell phone

speaking a different language in the parking lot,
along Mansfield to Division Street and beyond

to where someone blows her nose like a sudden shout,
hidden on a back porch,

to where the street ends in a T and I stop to sit
on someone else’s stairs and watch a lone mailman

making deliveries long after hours, and to return
his greeting.

And I sit with an acrid burn in my throat,
smoke of memory, taste of longing

for a street on which every face is a face I know and every hand
beckons me in; a fiction

but one so nearly brought to narrate the days
in other places, other paths

that sometimes the night feels like a loss,
and sometimes a blessing

that a city so unknowing grants this space
to recall such things unhindered, and then begin

the walk back, the empty house;
these words, a filament of breath exhaled

to reach beyond the bright, dark oceans
to where another life was lived.