There was time until there was no time.
I made them bread with little leaven.
I split wood and I carried water.
I bore them all — men, burdens, the hard years
and the easy weather. I weathered them
and I withered, doing what women
do. Did I regret it? No. These were
mine. I would do it again if I could
flesh that bone lying in the churchyard
under the dying elms. I throve while
I could, and I watched my children thrive —
two of them. We made the halls of the house
echo and the bare fields yield. We throve
and we died. Now our voices murmur
in the dusty corners when the wind
rides up the valley bearing on its back
a siege of storm. We discuss the hours
lying muffled in the dark eaves.
Wasps humming in the summer attic
are our neighbors now. All, all has fallen
away into the lath and plaster
that covers the first boards I scoured,
into the clocks muttering upon
the mantels. Now, at last, there is no time.
The Green Maces of Autumn: Voices in an Old Maine House by Lewis Turco, Dresden, ME 04342-0161: Mathom Bookshop, 2002. ISBN 0972271007, paper, $9.95, available from the author. Poems in this volume won both the Cooper House chapbook competition and the Silverfish Review chapbook award. All poems are collected in Fearful Pleasures: The Complete Poems of Lewis Turco 1959-2007, www.StarCloudPress.com.