After

Looking out
the world is flat
reflecting only clouds

All diverse is disappeared
the only difference the shade of sky
mountains valleys green all gone

Remembering the preflood
when the globe had shapes
before the hope was ended
before
before
before

Grandad stood at the kitchen sink

Grandad stood at the kitchen sink, eating an apple with his gutting knife. His bloodstained vest strained against his chest as he sliced so delicately with the rinsed-down blade. His jaw muscles worked under leathery skin; white stubble caught the light. He looked at the fish piled on the Sunday dinner dish and at the guts in the sink. He was thinking. “Nipper!” I jumped. “Clear up these guts and get ready. We’re going out.” A pause. “And don’t feed that cat. V, the fish is clean. I’m taking the boy out.” He put on his weekday cap and went into the yard to wash.

I’m not sure what I heard

I’m not sure what I heard.

“You know what gets me, pal?”
“What?”
“Hinges. Always squeaking.”
“Oh.”

“You know what gets me, pal?”
“What?”
“Angels. Always speaking.”
“Oh.”

“You know what gets me, pal?”
“What?”
“Edges. Always leaking.”
“Oh.”

I’m not sure what I heard.

How to clean a window to a soul

To clear a window to a soul is not easy but
here is a way

First find the right soft duster
breathe softly on the cloth from the heart
and tentatively, watchfully, carefully
begin to polish away corrosion

The cloth can catch
and leave threads of itself
but with love and hope and perhaps thousands of tears
the rust on the soul window will clear

We have grown old

Invecchiati simu, frate.

Yes, you’re right. We have grown old apart
distant in distance and distant in time
but friendship is deeper than years.

We will always be brothers, brother;
our hands still hold the thin blade scars.

I see your face and you are your father
as he was when we were young
and ran and swam and threw stones at the sentries.

We will always be brothers, brother;
our heads still hold the baton scars.

And now we may be old my brother
and our bones may ache in the morning mist
but when they come to cut the trees
the trees which hold the world together
we will be there and we will be waiting
hand in hand and scar to scar.