Baltimore and Home

HomeBaltimore and Home

It’s the clang and flap of halyards

and flip of lines in the morning’s stir

and their present silence at night

on dark water where the lighted shore

shimmies on silk waves

I’ll miss

when I return inland.

Now I bring to mind

the green shaft of slanted lawn,

sun tickling still damp trees

towering like these masts, rustling

above firm ground.

 

It’s the cheer and clutter of these colored streets

spilling masses of beer-soaked

voices and the stories I overhear bits of

corner to corner I’ll miss:

young men working on sidewalks in spattered aprons

and cracking colored glass to make art

and shopkeepers, tavern workers, and loiterers

and young girls with skimpy tops

talking about boys and guys talking

about Orioles and Ravens, their tee shirts

speaking the news of sports or beer,

politics or anatomy, eyes darting.

 

I’ll miss the age: cobblestones and rowhouses

with their improbable vertical arrangement

of space, with their flowerboxes spilling

petunias and potato vines and their doors

bright and alleyways intriguing—our dog

peeks down every narrow gated space between them,

where sometimes a cat crouches, sometimes

the back garden is visible or maybe

just imaginable and enticing to us both—

 

and all the shouting history along wharves

where brackish water joins the salt,

then all the world. The tugs, the giant ships

gray like enormous specters,

coming and going in the night.

Yet side by side the missing,

I find ahead

 

the comfort of quiet that waits

where deer graze on the yard

and ground softens underfoot,

where soil spins the miracle

of flowers and herbs

and a piliated comes to feed.

The dog will be unleashed to chase

the wind and all its scents.

 

There’s where we will kneel and plant

for the tens of years of sun allotted:

those loves of children and friends

and our own stars guiding

our private translocations.

 

From each I will open windows

to sight across the distances,

and, as now, reach from here to there,

and gather from there to where I bide.

 

 

 

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