Saturday, May 1, 2004

The Annual Clam Chowder Music Reunion at Jim & Dan's

Behind the Alleghenies, hazy in the blue humidity of late summer,
this house poses—betrayed by sunlight,

peeling paint flaking in a staccato breeze.  A determined wild grape
snatches at tires from the edge of rutted gravel,

while in the yard a croquet games runs the hazards of slope and sycamore,
small child, and random cats.

Wicker rockers creak on the porch—like aging beldames who
sway a gentle counterpoint to the whispers of Celtic harp, soft talk,

and rhubarb wine poignant on the tongue.  This house seems alive,
a many chambered organ pumping people from room to crowded room—

drawing them into the hot kitchen scents, pushing them back
to the snap jig and reel of the parlor band.

We revel in the dilled white flesh of potatoes, in sesame noodles,
barbeque, and vinegared greens.

We hum Wild Rover and Sweetgrass Moon to the tiny currants
that wink back at us from Welsh cakes.

The sigh of an uillean pipe calls fiddlers to battle against
a hefty soprano in the library.

At the window the tea roses nod encouragement, flinging confetti petals
and nudging at the cool green calm of the juniper beyond the glass.

And when the last licks of the day paint the distance with immodest violet
and the house spills us out that porch,

when we gather with a collective voice, chorusing, deo gratias,
a purple welcome to the night—

Each year, all year, until this moment, we are only half-alive.

Originally published in Riverwind, issue #27, Spring 2004