If only the sky would lift her head, at least then I’d know
which way was north. Direction has been everything to me,
but has no meaning here. As it is I follow moss that grows
north and south, rootless threads circling the trees in paths
of soft, damp pillows that smell of an earthy yeast and a world
simple, over-risen, and too yielding to make mine.
Each night I gather grief and remorse, wake hot with fingers
clenched in an arthritic arc, the house silent save for the
rhythmic sighs of my boys. My dreams of them plain: sun,
snow, winds a flush of salty air. Their bodies bound to what
is known and known well. What I have withheld sits heavy
in my chest like a beached whale collapsing upon herself.
Returning home would be resolve, a coastline with only
two directions. Following one would be intuitive, the sea
stretched out, the sky a giantess holding out a delicate hand.
Familiarity a braid of memories and wisdom, an ability. A skill
as old as telling stories or weaving beach grass as strong as
the arc of ribs that break before the thudding heart.