Blameless as rain
the children were given
sweet parts. In the chill thinning
sun they haunt the lawns
hunting rich mulch for
winter blossoms, ghost bones,
anything delicate or strange.
When the sun slips down
they lean toward our voices,
the lit house taking them in.
At dinner, Papa tells stories
He begins with a long tale about camels
trekking across ancient sands.
A distant landscape blooms in his eyes,
the pale blue irises, a backdrop
of sky etched with tiny lines as if
date palms criss crossed them--
Then suddenly (it seems sudden),
he’s describing the forest in Poland,
a cold, gray, smoky place
where an iron gate opens to rows
and rows of grim-colored buildings--
There is no more light
outside the dining room window.
It would have been better
if time halted before nightfall.
Why should they come in at all?
Leave them browsing in the blue dusk,
their small frames bending wordlessly
over each grave of leaves, beyond reach.