Out back, once you get the door open, it's all gone wild.
You can see the road we used to drive down every day
by the line of thistles and nettles that curves through the grass.
No-one’s going to work, no small men in tight suits;
no motors droning and gasping, no muzak clogging my ears;
just life, ripe and rotting. It smells rich out back,
but no corpses hang from the apple trees now.
The hut where the trolls used to store their piles of bones –
it must have collapsed one day, or on a stormy night,
but it had been leaned over for so long, windows smashed
and roof-felt flaking off, that no-one noticed
when its last post gave up. This makes me think that time
doesn’t have moments, that nothing definitely begins,
nothing ends. Like the summer that one day we call autumn,
like the sadness whose swelling radiance gathers us in.
My voice changes and moves away from where I used to live,
and I let it go. Now it barely speaks of the dragons I loved,
the ones whose breath burnt my skin to this brassy sheen,
the ones I wrestled with who made my fingers strong.
‘Don't look back,’ they said, ‘beyond the broken wooden fence,
wait for the deer. Now they are your guides.’ But how,
I want to know, do I speak of them, tussle with them,
who are born of light and grace? Of course, there are owls
in the silences between words. And stillness, doesn't it stalk
everyone, bold as a lion? But to meet with the deer
takes an offering, and more, until the shiver of contact
settles, and the creaking of this one-hinged door turns sweet.
From: Travels in the Middle Land, Dhamma Moon, 2013.