They come with the stealth of trouble,
under the shingles of wakefulness,
across the beams and joists of the buried past.
Seeking their own level, these images
puddle in hidden corners, then filter
through the wallboards and bead
on the underside of door sills and chandeliers.
Unwanted memories, it is hard to detect
their sources. The roofers are puzzled.
We put out pots and wide-mouthed jars
–all the while feeling guilty, exposed–
and await the punishing sound
of the next drip, the piece of the past
that collects with the others but takes no shape.
Sometimes we know they’ve found a new passage:
a darkening patch of ceiling calls us
to stand below, fixes us, our hands cupped
to catch in a parody of prayer.
Long after the sun comes out,
and the drips subside,
shadows remain, streaks of cloud
on the stuccoed surfaces, resistant
both to paint and forced good cheer.
Tenacious as mildew or mold,
these ghostly arrivals mock us with traces
of what we can almost remember, almost deny.
(from Making Change, Argonne House Press © 2001. Originally published in Crab Creek Review)