for my mother and father, now gone, and still here

You know how light comes through a keyhole,
how it fans out into a dark room,
and how the dust motes dance,
in that small delta of light.

And now you know
that this is an old story,
when keyholes were big
and shaped like chess pawns,

or mushrooms, and your child self
would lie awake, dancing inside
at the amber warmth
streaming in through that tiny belfry,

down the short hall from the living room,
where your mother and father,
aunts and uncles, told rambling stories
around a worn wooden table,

over coffee, tea and peanuts,
and how the voices would hush,
as though coasting to a stop on a gravel road,
at some scene of approaching clarity,
under parting clouds.

And O, how vast that pause,
your breath in a bottle on the ocean floor,
straining and hearing only the kitchen clock,
until a shell cracked,

a chair creaked,
and another,
and a damn broke,
and laughter swirled through the house,
and sailed down from ceilings.

How sudden you rose,
to the keyhole, afraid to look,
because you were sure
there was nothing out there

but God,
blazing away in laughter.


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