Life With Horace

poetry & essays


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Restland

Olivia’s obelisk sits in tailored green
behind an iron gate and arrow pointed fence.
Jumped-up gold letters on the arched black sign
declaring
Restland. Stand near enough
in late afternoon shimmer and her voice is clear,
restless words reaching for release.

It is spring, but where are the lilacs I asked for?
No rounded shapes, or shade, or not to be forgotten scent.
A bit of rest here and there would have suited,
but this place? That name? The gods laugh.

Where are the staccato horse clops and soft whuffs,
wagon creaks, quiet words from walkers, children playing hoops,
the church bell? Only constant gliding rumbles, impatient horns,
blares of sound, no suitable rhythm for a hill town life.

Where are the visitors? None inclined or left to come,
not family, not him anymore. Is he here too?
Years doing women’s work, all the time seeing color,
rearranging light, and wanting paint and brush
to show him what I saw, wanting to say his given name,
not Mister, nor Mister Baker darling.

Where is the promised release of death? I lie,
still in my stays, oh god for a knife to cut their
laces, walk and breathe unbound, not go about exactly as a man
but with a woman’s eyes, much better. Will he meet me here in moonlight,
pull my fingers to his lips, and say my name?