In a corner under the eaves
of the porch, a nesting dove—
the same returning dove—tosses
a few dry weeds, willy-nilly,
into the prevailing wind, then waits
for them to fall in place.
Because I mean her no harm
she allows me to draw close
to her precarious balcony.
I bid her good morning,
she cocks her head at me and blinks--
two old familiars who share
a moment of dappled light falling
on the peaceable kingdom
of the front porch.
This morning, a light drift
of feathers on the lawn
and the day’s expectations sour.
Each spring this dumb show of events
repeats itself: a nest abandoned, another
plundered by crow or jay, eggs
spilled from their thatch, an inch
of blue flesh, like a maimed thumb,
drying in the sun.
Does the dove, in its season,
despite its plaintive moan, learn nothing?
And I, in mine? I fetch the paper
from the lawn, people drive by
to another day of work.
Nothing is brought to completion.
Later I’ll sweep away the nest—empty,
again, of everything but a blind
belief in the possible
The Train Station of Milan
Leaving Milan, what I remember
is the old man in a blue cap
who stood apart from the press of travelers,
waving good-by as if bereft.
In the failing light of that winter day,
framed by the great vault of the station
and growing smaller in the distance,
he seemed already blurred with Time.
I was young then, with few cares
and a suitcase full of destinations.
I gave him little thought in passing.
The old man surely is dead now,
and I am of the age he was
when I first saw him—as I see
him now--that winter afternoon
in Milan, his hand extended, palm up,
his fingers opening and closing,
as if he were setting free something
he held, if only for a moment,
then beckoning it to come back.