She was beautiful
he only a photograph
a snapshot quickly shuffled to unspoken
the next image drawing prolonged warmth of memory.
Perception imagined imagination. Until later.
What happens when the dreamliner embarked for marriage
becomes the life raft of separation
when the dazed triage of assessment
turns to a brutal imperative – flee.
Did summer end early
or winter arrive too soon
was unhappiness a brief storm
or slow moving cold ?
Were there the peace negotiations of separate bedrooms
or a fist a crumpled form and echo ringing door slam?
This is a ghost town – literally.
Two wheels roll down a gently wet road
instinct follows an ancient scent
a salmon returning wisdom to old waters.
Some things do not need to be spoken
they pass directly to heard.
Along the bordering sidewalk her first steps, to first marriage
perhaps this is where he came courting
bringing laughter, it was needed more than company.
Laughter, slashes of blue in grey, eiderdowned skies
the perfume of rain wet dust, on parched streets.
Laughter – sometimes cure – often analgesic.
Once eye turning state of art, it’s an old bike now
if such categories exist for bicycles
polished out of retirement for ceremonial duties
65 miles through a river gorge
youth reprises for one day.
The haunted household recedes.
rain washes memory to concentration
cloud haloed bush stalks to roadside.
streams fire hose spray from rock arteries
might have been regrets dissolve to bliss
bliss thanks fortune.
Morning closes to afternoon, river opens to ocean
strength is tired now, middle age resumed.
The town is busy.
the hotel less than five stars
self-congratulations doesn’t notice strain between husband and wife.
Punishment’s reward. Beer. Beer and fries. Then beer.
One for the road. Later that night, beer receives the blame.
Angry voices. A command to get out. A banged door.
In the morning nothing is said. Or seen of the husband.