Monday Poem


If it were then
I’d be seated on the step of the well house
gazing at peach tree buds and the tales they told
of waiting, swelling, being
listening with the lake at my back
down and through the steep slope of woods
across the street. I’d see its gleaming surface
spark through voids of oaks and the strangling bittersweet
that climbed and throttled them ….. if I turned

if I turned I’d hear the shouts and splash of swimmers
with muscles like mine, unconsciously prime, no effort just ease,
sounds, raw amplitudes caught in the topology of pink folds
sprung from the sides of my head like wings —

and there’d be birds, of course, that sing,
species unknown to me then, just birds, robins at least
—the first I knew specifically by their russet breasts
pointed out to me by dad, or mom perhaps,
though by this time that certainty’s as gone as the mist
that rose at sunrise from that lake


all except the echoing sense of it:
the ache that clings like the scent of lilac from the bush
that, not far from the well house at the corner of the drive,
stood its ground against the plow which passed again and again
heaving its cold load upon it at the curb
never say die, its blooms later sang in spring unison,
lavender blossoms bundled like choirs
whose songs rose from their bush of pied shadows
performing sweet chemical chansons for my nose

that day then would have been as young as this but less weighted,
less fraught, less freighted, less shadow-cast:
I’d be seated on the well house step inconsiderate of the future
and unperturbed by the past

Jim Culleny