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Will we leave a trace
after we are gone?
Our absent shape sunk into rocks
A ghost of forms, all outline
but no substance
A phantom feeling
a fading memory.


When children find our fossils
A million years from now
Will they make up stories of our lives?



The commission

Only a man
deeply in love
with himself
would pay someone
so much
to see his own image –
in his objects –
etched on the page.
A mirror of art
for a modern Narcissus
to stare at himself.


The problem is
with every stroke
I also trace the face
I’ve never seen but know so well
and with every line
I’m giving you more of me.



Ghost in your house

I walk in your house
when you’re not home.
Your housekeeper lets me in.
I learn something new
about you
with each passing day.
You didn’t give me much
just a key
(to open all the doors
but one.)
It’s enough,
it has to be enough.
I do what I came here for.
You pay me well.
Yet I cannot promise
I won’t want something
I wasn’t meant to have.
I can’t tell you
I won’t take it.
All artists are thieves
after all.



The first time I saw you

I worked all day
on a sculpture of mahogany and moss
like a piece carved
from the forest itself.
Then I went for a walk
on the pier
and I saw you
against the waking night.
I knew it was you
You looked at me
when I passed.
“Are you my painter?”
It felt so right
that you called me yours.
“How do you know?”
You thought for a moment.
“My rooms now
bear your touch.”



Ghosts on the pier

There are ghosts on the pier
many have seen them walk.
It’s a cold patch,
a shimmer in mid-air –
it fills me with dread –
the echo of footsteps
walking away
leaving – like snails-
an iridescent trail
of words unsaid.


Earl grey

It has always been
lying inside,
a handful of leaves
like old tea
and smoky mornings
faint and waiting.
You touched something
in me
like water
translucent, burning.
Leave it time
and I can
pour my soul
into your cup.



The boathouse fire

Fires often start
from some inconsequential thing
but a forgotten flame
can set the whole world ablaze.
We were out on an evening stroll
licking sugar from our lips –
a late dessert.
Among sweetness
came the acrid smoke
of destruction.
We stared at the fire
Somewhere someone
started singing
like an invisible choir
of errant angels.
I have never seen you
so alive
so beautiful.
I could barely breathe.



Pressed flowers

I want to take
this moment and
hide it between the pages
of a yellowing book
where it would stay
even if we no longer
and life seeps away
from the petals
with time.