Getting there

July 17, 2019

You said to me once, “I love the silence when
you get where you want to go and turn
the motor off,” and it’s true, the car breathing
a little, deep in your ear ghost voices echo,
then nothing. Just sit there a moment.

I knew what you meant, like getting
to our summer place in the Berkshires,
the car whining asthmatically up our hill,
windows open, then the smell of fresh
grass a neighbor cut, no sound at all.

The last time I visited you weren’t home
yet. I walked down the street, then
back, and saw you pull into the driveway,
get out, and stop to look at crocuses,
or daffodils, just breaking through
the spring soil. I thought that must be
where you wanted to go, the peace widening
to include me in the middle of the block,
enveloping me in its silky stillness.

Even now when I don’t know where
I’m going, and wake late at night in a kind
of fierce panic, I feel that pure calm
sometimes, the motor’s steady purpose,
the ultimate quiet when it stops, and think
of Irv MacKenzie mowing in big circles,
finishing up. I see you bending down to look
as you wait for me, the yard coming
alive with small buds and shoots.