The Near Places, Late Autumn
Half awake to morning moon, I imagine rising
above the roof to look at the yard -
the leafless birches we planted years ago
turned pewter. Reflection silhouettes
our grown children's photographs,
your face taking form in dim blue
like a slow-developed negative.
The maze of dreams that ravel into waking
seem less grave as slowly comes the echo
of roofing noises gone on all week:
shingle by shingle you've laid a pale new covering
that must be gleaming now in the quiet.
The knock and flutter of a bird caught
in the chimney of the wood stove comes back...
how we lured it down to the cold firepit with a flashlight
in a paper bag, but it flew into the room instead,
hit against windows and walls, our grandchild
crying below the feathered charcoal smudges.
When finally it slowed and your large hands
closed around it, opened at a doorway
like wings streaked with soot to let it go,
the song in the silence that covered us
was like some new knowledge of home
the earthbound take from flight.
What wakes me finally before I know
I've slept, are the finishing strokes above,
your rising beyond my awareness,
the ordinary completeness
of a roof overhead.