The hill-hung house wakes to another day.
Behind it, up the mountainside I’ve climbed,
I stand inside an early-morning cloud
that waits for the rising sun to wipe it out.
The chiggers waiting in the Queen Anne’s Lace,
the ticks in the path, the web across my face,
and the thorns in every locust tree I touch
persuade me I have not changed much coming home.
But I who have returned am other than
the molecules I was when I ran down
the mountain to the college and the sea.
The flaking house paint shows me chalky grey
foundation boards the garden snails have slimed.
Beneath the porch where once a possum cowered
and played it died each time I’d jump or shout,
I see the wagon that we used to race
and I do my very best but still can’t trace
my old acquaintances. They used to matter much,
I tell myself, and scratch names in the loam
that covers where, back then, a small brook ran
from just above the house down through the town
in search of deeper waters, just like me.