Trying to remember what it was like to live
Here and how it was I used to feel and fit
Into those days–like a convict in the movies
I have come back to put on my old clothes.
Dogs I used to know give me a sniff.
The salt’s on my skin; the air dark roasted.
Street people appear lucky and familiar.
I nod and some respond for whatever reason.
Better luck in shops where my kited checks
Clung to the register with a tail of tape–
In the stand of little birches set by itself
Where I kissed a neck in the bend of the river–
Behind windows where I looked out, lifeguard
To the street below, where my wife believed
Beautiful women passed just so I could see them,
Where my old cat, black bag of dust, blinked in the sun.
My memory is an upright sweeping back.
In its housing coins and splinters, fingernails, fur,
Shells, grinds, and peels: the literal stuff of that bereft,
A man would be a scarecrow in a birdless field.