FIVE POEMS IN MEMORY OF MOLLY
Molly is glancing there
behind the forking hill.
Around sparrows collect
glass. Swallowed like a key
we've come to treasure sun
shot brocade braids at her
short feet, the message toed
in grass O l l Y | M O | Y
It may last, or may not
come to that. On chance hers
will be a shunned past, and
boyhood can live in shame,
a shoe drops from a branch.
II. Love's Black Way
A bush lit our final night
with the sled. I'd found a small
lane, and faraway a piece
of sod. There were other people
too there. And Molly said she thought
we were very old, for a damp
to crawl upon like oiled sheets.
Going sledding now and never again.
In the bush hips creaked like a ship.
Our new coats twisted. To sled
here and there cornered but spry
through wild passages, to relive
at any time rescinded faith
or manners. The call was let. Barks
steamed. Truthfully the woods regret
all the ideas that Molly had.
III. The Day of the Ceremony
The long black house and the river's trim trees,
the mottled and refashioned ground
are among the objects your brother will bless
along with Molly's wool shroud.
Remember the day that your brother came here
and told us "It will be very holy."
Remember your mother's strange, old-fashioned tear
when nobody could locate our Molly.
Now it arrives, the time we should go down,
there is unusual news.
Everything's simply gone, our Molly's wool shroud,
and the ground and the house and the trees.
Perpetual house of the fled,
August's swarms ushered you with squalls
of rain-scrapped leaves raining on pails,
hot scrimmages laid down in mud.
The mineral soap and bread for dawn.
A kettle bristles on its seat
composing breath, the sun's terrain
blanking onto clouds its secret:
Molly watched her brother buckle
his waist, sniff in the mirror's blast,
at last descend to milk and crust.
V. The Silk Doll
Her first familiar was button-eyed.
Her draughty room windmilled her prayers
to the hall.
Holidays and weekends wore their own trouble.
In the hamper was thrown accidentally
her silk doll.
The window for sleep broke inside her.
At New Year's the pennies lined up
on the sill.
To hear less she tightened the curtains.
Distant from morning the unhearing sun
shook its call.