The Whereabouts Of Johanna
Take seriously every unknown wanderer who personally inhabits the inner world,since they are real because they are effectual.
You have disappeared for the day –canceling nothing,
but on your desk there is a tea cup
painted with blue willows and bridges. Something
you haven’t used in years or rearranged
on the cabinet’s shelf.
Always stored in back, it was left barely visible
like the poetry you used to write
with unique details and characters. The sailor’s wife
who strolled the shoreline waiting
for his return. Sea horses
littered the beach around her, dead and delineating
keys to holes in the horizon
where spirits passed through.
Or the sculptor’s mistress
who curtained the window
with her wide sleeves and skirt
as she watched rain
wash over cobblestones
envying a permanence
she could never share with him.
I haven’t heard of these women (or others)
since you sipped chamomile
from that same cup
telling me they appeared in a dream
and your duty was to transcribe them.
Seven years ago, you sat there
holding this blue garden in your hands, deliquescing
in to a drama that was not your life, but still
compelled you to leave, lament
for more than a day. The time
it takes for cut lilies to open.