Echos of the Past
One more winter – a season of my past where
a house is empty now – its’ echo whines
in the attic where I have seen holes for black
birds – perhaps they sleep in this emptiness
as winter brings fierce winds – when birds
cannot fly. So I kneel on the radiator in the
kitchen on the second floor; glass is covered
in frost. On the porch I squint into a setting
sun, beyond the ice as if I still could see black
birds feeding on Grandmother’s scraps.
The house is empty – Grandmother and her
black birds have flown away –
This emptiness receives me as a gift of life
as my footsteps climb the stair’s, my hand
grips a wooden rail, loose, in need of repair.
My hands covered with fluffy white snow as
a fierce wind strikes my face – whips up
Seneca Street striking my right cheek.
I reach with a key to unlock the side door,
hesitate – knowing each room will echo –
I step – off crooked steps and unpainted deck –
places where I grew to learn right from wrong.
Search between our house and next door, visions
from a past – reliving a secret world of fantasy.
I am walking across green grass – on tip toe where
children played hide and seek. Crowded outside
in all seasons of the year – when people lived
here, breathed here, and shrubs felt like giant
trees. Friends gathered in a storm, talked
while metal hit cement and men shoveled sidewalks
– but echos of life called out – a simple hello to
those who lived across the street, and- when helping
hands were common – and faces smiled.
Slabs of concrete never changed – a name Visco
at the top of each square – now cracked or lifted
from the earth – time has even worn out walks;
now cracks not mended: Today few remain who
once knew me.
I clutch a book with gloved hands as my heart
pounds – seeing yesterday where nothing is.
I write about the rose bushes, no one covers
them in plastic for the winter. No one ties
branches of a tree, so winter storms won’t
snap limbs, and stare at a space where a
garden grew – where a barrel stood to catch
rain; no longer here but in my mind.
I glance to the window where Grandmother
stood – I felt her warmth for a moment as
a winter sun sets on my back.
A dream crosses my mind, her waving in her
kitchen window – now my mind immersed with
photos of yesterday; for yesterday
a secret – words will tell them who I am, where
I was, and why I am who I am.
No sudden gust of wind can take away a life,
nor a white light bring darkness to the past.
I shall return to walk the halls of yesterday –
for echo’s speak – in all seasons of the year.