Once we lay in sleeping bags,
my hair in tangled braids,
early morning chill on the Hoh
while the elk herd grazed.
We camped that way, playing
at gypsies. Someday I may grieve
the loss of your mouth on mine.
Now we curl together, skin to skin,
flexing our spines. Your cheeks bright
Strangers fit together in one bed, desire
is shared, and couches. In time the bed acquires
a house and the house a family.
Children are cared for and released
like wounded birds nursed into health.
In our 60’s we find we’ve made two lives
into one. Family histories combined and transformed,
now we are the parents our children will speak of –
“I remember my mother, my father, how they walked,
how they watched us with their blue eyes.”
This almost random pairing becomes the cauldron
in which people are formed. Like swallows that breed
in our garage, we have made a generation to follow us,
two bodies, one bed, tangled lives.
After 25 Years
Ducks in the roadside ditch build nests
at the edge of disaster. Here in the coast range
shadow we hold to the edge of town and grow old.
We know the weather, the particular scent of spring,
frog shouts in March, the crickets that herald fall.
Omnipresent rain colors the light gray.
As though we grew here like fir trees
that crowd out sun in the yard, our roots may crack
the pavement, our heads split the roof.
We cling to edges, marginal space, we hold each other
like that. Our lives built here, two grown children,
the aging cat and dog.
The house sinks each year further into ruin, our own bodies
slump into age. Like ducks who don’t know the ditch will dry,
we go on.