width=61 height=87> Voracious Verses


Spencer Baselice
Water Marks

Where the water marks a graying shed,
From the barn to the wood stools behind the baler
The river that flows over it's banks in spring.

A rusted old seeder stands beyond the tall grass,
And the wind ruffles through an old elm tree,
the fragrant strands of grass bend like bows;
the hand of nature pulling on their seeds.

And if you look through the tall grass, beyond the seeder
where last year and the year before last,
the overflows have cast a graying shadow on the wood
I see your form in the moonlit distance.

Fragile as a sparrow, discerning as a crow
and yet, inevitably, always in the moonlit shadows
like dancers when the wind blows, like pale frostings of childhood dreams
I see you suffering through a wind-chilled night,
with the sailors of dreams wild and tight,
with the mountains of past weeping with blight,
I see you darkly, in the graying shadows of the moon,
where water marks the graying shed,
you can not see because of the night.
Where water marks the graying shed.

© 2006 Spencer Baselice

Where Water Marks a Graying Shed II

Here the water marks a graying shed,
And a rusting old seeder stands by the road,
I sit and watch the sifting of the trees,
Like ancient arms, thick, wrinkled.

The field now is bare where our children played,
Clear cut to make room for another planting,
Of corn and bean and asparagus patties,
the same field where Ethan fell chasing the white swan with the broken leg,
And Emily found that tired looking shrew,
Which she drew and drew until it died that night in the barn,
After you found it in you to take it water
And let it drink from your hands;
Like a tired old man drunk off your good nature
It slept and slept and slept when it was through, slept.

When the small wheeze pf pneumonia came from it's tiny nose
You had to lay it down in the leaves in the haying basket.
Of course it was horrifying when we had to sew up Emily's lip
with a thin piece of surgical thread after the mouse had bitten her...

The hammock is weathered and filled with mold
I sat on it this morning remembering the first feel of your plush and delicate lips,
And then we made love until the amber filled sky slid beneath us and carried us away,
Then fought about how long it had been since we last seeded the soil bed by the pond.
It was then that we conceived Steven, you always brushed the mud from his shoes,
After taking him on walks down the path to where the hammock lies still,
protected from the winds by the growing fields.
We had Ethan, then Emily and Angeline
And you groomed their hair and trimmed their nails
dressed them in the finest clothes
to walk them to the place where they would become old like us,
"But isn't it better to let them know." I used to argue...

"Keep the dirt on their shoes. They'll be stronger knowing what made them."
But you took a peculiar side on that argument.
It was for the children
“An art…” you whispered in my ear.

I have much to learn still,
But the hill still hasn't forgotten,
And I hear it now
in this dark and lonely landscape,
Where the moon like a fickle peasant lays his open hand
on the wrinkles of my forehead,
A white sheath of forgiveness
like an evening cocktail,
like a bridal gown.
like old silk.

The children have all grown to our bidding
And their hands are unrecognizable,
Their faces flash into molded clay before my minds eye,
As I cut down the fields which have buried our home,
Where the water marks the graying shed.

I remember the feel of scythe
when I first cut down these fields,
but I do not remember the feel of Ethan's skin
when he caught a fever in the middle of August.
And panicking I touched his scalding skin
The good, distinctive rhythm is unbroken
In these fields.

Love was just a single thread
which was bound between two common ends,
And the ends now broken leave us with this thread,
twisted and turned to reveal itself,
The maker of all threads,
Now when I need to make amends.
I know we shared not love but hope of offspring, prosperity
And fear of the end.
The rest is just the water line, marking the timber of the graying shed.

And when I think of your turquoise gown,
The unraveling thread, a button still missing
maybe on the floor behind our bed,
I think not of you but of our patient thread
And hope to one day make amends.

© 2006 Spencer Baselice