By Laura Grace Weldon
Skiff at the Shore
If only you could prepare a handy satchel.
Tuck in the rocking chair’s creak.
Scent of growing things. Windy autumn afternoons.
Smooth satisfaction of rolling out pie crust.
Your children’s faces, such beloved faces!
And hugs, blessed hugs, even if you have to remove
all the books you packed to fit every hug inside.
At night, wakeful, you ask yourself if pale yellow stars
sparking inside your eyes are a dream
or your brain’s essence blinking out.
You haven’t packed, can’t seem to find a bag.
Have no map.
When are they coming back,
your three-year-old granddaughter asks
about cows no longer in the barn,
about the cat buried by the fencepost,
about withered plants crumbling back to dirt.
They tell you a skiff waits at your shore.
Ninety or more years from now
she’ll board it herself,
and arrive to find the table set,
Sunday dinner ready, everyone back together.
Your song ends
All the way home I hear it
transposed in passing traffic
playing in wind-swept rain
I feel it in my throat,
an unspoken blessing.
As I stand in the dark before going in
a neighbor calls her dog.
Her words this night
are your lyrics too.
Music that’s alive
creates beyond itself.
Long after the last note’s silence
it goes on, making
art out of what seems ordinary.
It lets everything sing.
Laura Grace Weldon is the author of a poetry collection titled Tending and a handbook of alternative education, Free Range Learning, with a book of essays due out soon. She’s written collaborative poetry with nursing home residents, used poetry to teach conflict resolution, and taken poetry into other unexpected settings although her work appears in more conventional places such as J Journal, Penman Review, Literary Mama, Christian Science Monitor, Dressing Room Poetry Journal, Pudding House, Shot Glass Journal, and others. Connect with her at lauragraceweldon.com