CHANGE OF LIFE

Once more she came to the house–
its overgrown garden and littered lawn,
weeds and plastic and broken glass.
This time she remembered the key.

In the hall, all was mended and clean.
Icons of saints, yellow chairs,
bookshelves, a grand piano,
tall cupboards, darkness, and doors.

One, with its curious silver knob, opened
to a room empty of all but shadows,
windows above a garden of fountains and roses,
a labyrinth edged with pure white stone.

Through a rough door painted green,
a room of tables jumbled
with hats and bottles of scent,
jewelry, dolls, and silver spoons.

Down the back steps the usual kitchen,
white bathroom with orange towels,
a comfortable room with a yellow bed–
rooms like rooms she knew awake.

But now around the family table
a band of gypsies sang an old familiar song
in a language she’d forgotten:
Beneath the cellar stairs sleeps a poet who is drunk.

While she listened, a baby crept into the light,
and vanished into her shadow,
gray against the gray stone floor.

 
July 21, -Dec. 19.  2000

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