Thursday, January 10, 2013

North Amherst

Across from Pete’s Package Store and its endless supply of Rolling Rock,
winter ended, ice melting slowly down the street curving to unpaved road
freeing itself day by warmer day from the waterfall to strip and bathe in
come summer, your return from Springfield to our mattress on the floor,
and the table outside where I played Prokofiev’s Aleksandr Nevsky score
for Eisenstein the year I was born, knowing Hart Crane danced Ravel’s
Bolero while writing. That way I might come to learn the limits required
to work such earth still left to be tilled even after old Hart and Whitman;
Roethke and Lowell, two of my fathers; my only sister Emily Dickinson
presaging my mother whose life was too short to catch sight of the tree
felled by a hurricane here the year I was born where the plumb line fell
south on America’s map. Here Mill River ran freely below the sycamore
and I was warm once more, I turned the volume as loud as it would go
but not as far as town. I was warm, my Smith-Corona portable worked
without fail, writing Tchoupitoulas, never finished, it’s too long, I’m told,
but I know it was merely voices on a page, ghosts hoping only to be heard
where my father’s childhood ended and he found love on a southern road
never paved until I was gone from where I would not have been so blessed
but I may have known eventually, made native to my mind, the language
that would have honored me if I had listened longer at 131 Summer Street,
a walk away from where Emily saw beyond the sky and deep into the earth.
Should I have waited patiently there, or gone where my plumb bob reached?

(10 January 2013)

copyright 2013 by Floyce Alexander

1 comment:

  1. Pete's is long gone, Puffer's Pond is restricted to residents, Amherst is increasingly yuppified. Na'theless, Emily's spirit is still strong here, the house and Austin's next door are now a museum. Three enlightening videos of her life and work have been made by Ernest Urvater, "Angles of a Landscape". Highly recommended by me anyway. Come back and look around, Floyce. A former resident of Summer St. myself!