For Childhood, an elegy
"The imagination spans beyond despair
Outpacing bargain, vocable and prayer."
from For the Marriage of Faustus and Helen, Hart Crane
Our castle, built of white sheets strung
on mother's laundry line smelled
of sunshine and dandelion,
a limp stemmed flower tucked behind my ear.
Do you remember the span of grass
between the swing-set and the sandbox
we called the Groundless sea?
Your ship the latest cardboard box we fished
from my father's trash. Your cargo, provisions
of pebbles and sticks.
I loved the choppy blonde ocean
of your hair and never tired of trying to decode
the secrets stamped in the map of your eyes
those two, ragged petaled irises.
These stories still draw themselves
in stringy clouds set
inside fiery sunsets, in the open and close of spiral shells
in the sparrow's mottled wing
what is real we didn't imagine --
but if I look too close,
I see wrinkles in my hands and wonder how we manage
to live with ruined Troy
burnt and smoking
inside our human hearts.