We talked of my sister’s marriage, so many years ago,
Here in the very yard where tonight we supped our tea and gazed
At the familiar forest behind the house.
We recalled the oak that had to be cut down thirty years ago,
Our good-bye to the rough pine swing on which so many children
From all over the neighborhood,
Flocking as soon as the snows had melted each Spring,
Kicked their heels and hooted in joy.
And we could almost hear again the family arguments, now so endearing,
That echoed over the hardwood floors year after year.
It was that time of the evening when an aurora caresses the earth,
A lowering of the sky after a misty day.
Occasionally a breeze would sweep high, suspended branches against each other.
Everyone would stop their chats and take in the rustling sound.
Our fingers jostled against each other,
Expelling the poppy seeds that stuck to us from our tiny nibbled cakes,
Just as we had done each time Grandmother served them at our innumerable summer parties.
Father stacked plates on his virile arms in the gathering darkness.
Then we raised our heads as mortar blasts went off on the other side of the hill.
Uncle said, “Ah, it is probably time to pack up the house.
The battalion will certainly destroy the town tomorrow.”
This poem was published in Issue 77 of Offcourse, June 20, 2019.
May 16, 2018