Thursday, December 01, 2005

34. Drinking Cold Water - Peter Everwine

Almost twenty years
Since you put on your one good dress
And lay down in the shale hills of Pennsylvania.
What you expected from life was nothing much,
And it came
And so it was.
In California I mourned and then forgot,
Though sometimes, in a mirror,
I saw someone walk from the weeds,
Stepping from a shine of water,
And it was you, shining.

Tonight I brought my bundle of years
To an empty house.
When I opened it, a boy walked out,
Drinking cold water, watching the
Moon rise slim and shining over your house.
Whatever it was I wanted
Must have come and gone.

Twenty years, grandmother.
Here I stand
In the poverty of my feet,
And I know what you’d do:
You’d enter your black shawl,
Step back into the shadows of your hair.
And that’s no help tonight
All I can think of is your house—
The pump at the sink
Spilling a trough of clear
Cold water from the well—
And you, old love,
Sleeping in your dark dress
Like a hard, white root.