Tom Sheehan: Flashing Mirrors at a House Built in 1742, III (poem)
Flashing Mirrors at a House Built in 1742, III
I leaned against the largest maple tree,
planted hungry years before upon
a leech trench, watching my going
out of me at play and shining
the souls of mirrors back,
telling each other
what we knew.
I loved him from the tree, later a window
dark-squared above the wide grass,
as I leaned toward his hands
moving out of himself, making;
and the corners of the house,
the inners and outers hammered
upwards from my hand.
What I had made smiled,
the son, the house, our piece
of the morning sky, a whole particle
of one man and all the gear he needs
to spread himself without torture
past himself, loving downhill
all the way.
Framed in sunlight, booted, buckled,
hand-knit into his denim clothes,
jacket thrust into pants into belt
into wind searching him
for a post of entry,
he flashed my love on the air.
The semaphore in sunlight flew
past me at the cold glass,
a hot javelin breaking
at the crystal brow I wore
filling the house behind me.
In the wide fields of its rooms,
filled with shadows of other times,
sounds frightened the walls
as if they could not contain
One smaller than the yard boy,
lighter in the face, athletic so young,
a stair-leaper, floor-bender,
such even the sills on granite
know each pounce of his weight.
(Often I pray the wood coming back
to him in the recoil of life
is not carved into a rifle butt.)
He flashes through plaster, laths,
the skin preserving my heart, through
eyes, miles and miles of nerves,
into my knowing.
And her of October’s cheeks,
arms spider-webbing, silken clutches
of a mastery I dare not understand.
In the high walls of my heart
she hides, a game’s chase,
a seeking sons do not employ,
pushing a love up at me
the passing of blood has given her.
Her mirror changes, opaques, becomes
neon, shows me wide-eyed, wondering,
a quiet man not quite ready
for her smile.
On talking boards, nails slipped
from silence by weights of my loves
I step across graves of other houses here,
where a father stood loving at a window, died,
and left his words hanging, hard handles
on them, for my grasping.
“Look now, listen,” I say,
“I was never lonely here.
I gave voice to these rooms,
left visions of touch for your skin.
We promise always to sound again,
spilling years, loves, leaves of days,
a cry now and then between dark of days
punching out the daylight to let you know
we passed through minutes ago one year.”
say into years of darkness,
“This time is mine. I will come again
and stand here by the window, letting
the mirrors talk. Oh, pray
for the listening.”