This poem is for Mike. I feel intimately still connected to the man, though he is lost to us. Sometimes I sit around the house and talk aloud to him, because I feel he needs to be updated on the happenings in my town. I wrote this the week before the flood, and I typed it up the other night and was surprised by the last couple sentences of it. Strange I would reference both, "it has been a mild spring," and then wishing a sea into the side of the potter's shed. I was going to rewrite it to include the flood details, but then just left it - it was written B.F. = Before the Flood - and didn't want to change that. I figure I've more than enough material for future poems on that subject anyway.
It's not perfect, but it's for Mike Fort, whom I sincerely miss and wish were here. I would finally finish that Hugo Black biography just so we could sit around and talk about it.
I know you would like springtime here. The yew is growing, bluebells and daffodils
Flowering in the soft dawn. Peonies are just beginning to bud. I’m sorry for the dog,
he is genuinely still a puppy though two years old, and I’ve a feeling you would eventually like him and his ice blue eyes though he finds pleasure in digging and burying like comic strip Marmaduke in your backyard. Sometimes I take him to walk in Shelby Park, where you fished and biked and golfed.
It has been a mild dry spring with only one tornado, no one hurt.
The most pleasant addition has been the piano. Taylor plays the fluid, clean notes all over our afternoons while the wind outside stirs the old oak tree and the mud room door stands open. Your old chest of drawers are still in the back potter’s shed, which we use for just the lawnmower, though it’s been stolen once. (Don’t worry, the neighbor’s grandkid’s been caught just like when you cussed him that time.)
I think that sometimes, nothing’s changed here, but it has. We’ve gotten older, and it’s true, one slows down. We see sunrise and forget midnight, and we hold fast to the anxiety of that which only you know, literally more inevitable than before. (Besides, the Radio Cafe has been closed for some time now.)
As you know, there is no ocean here, nor Alabama, so I sit on that back porch, yours, and wish a sea into the side of the potter’s shed. In that sea I climb aboard my boat and visit my family on a silent island, film sound-tracked with birds too enamored in the sunlight to do anything but sing.
We miss you.