These days we like to walk the old neighborhood,
down the criss-cross streets by the dog park, past
the harbor, past Linda’s Seabreeze Café, past my old house,
a not-much-to-look-at beach shack built for summer,
where the ghost of me still tends my old life: roses
in the garden, laundry on the line, my son in his wheelchair,
head tilted up as I spoon that morning’s purée.
I can still hear the neighbor warming up his diesel truck,
the clack of kids next door setting their skateboards
on the sidewalk. At night, the saltwater lament
of seals as I lie in bed looking out the window
at the shadowed green. It’s been a year. Or ten. No—
twenty. A man I did not know then holds my hand
as we pass the front yard where the new people
have planted fire poker, day lilies, Mexican sage.
I miss the way the light came through the living room
at midday. The pine out front they had to cut down
because it wanted to lift the house up by the foundation,
into the air. I thought there was another life, a better one.
My son’s eyes were dark as earth. We had to hold him close
at night in case he had a seizure. I would have said, then,
it was torture to love someone you couldn’t save. But
what did I know? How lucky it was—how lucky
it always is—to love someone at all.