House of two trees
I see it every day through a car window.
It ghosts alongside like a stalled memory,
age uncertain, between drawn curtains
of teenaged birch, once autumn’s first gale
has shaved away their weak, buttery leaves.
Only its gable ends remain, a pair of
house-shaped symbols of wet, mossy stone,
linked by a low skirt of rubble, no sign of
a doorway or chimney-breast from this distance.
In each of what would’ve been its two rooms,
opportunist sycamores reach up beyond
the level of the eaves, and must form
a roof of sorts in full, late-summer leafspread,
but now join the hunched cluster of skeletons.
Sometimes there are rooks, crows, neither.
I return eventually to our home, twelve years young,
and backgrounded by those half-dozen acres
of pine, poplar, oak – their own sycamores too,
whose diaspora of seeds choke our garden
and gutters with saplings every spring.
And I can’t help wondering about time, the Earth,
the waiting game they’re playing with us,
the winning hands they’re inevitably holding.
first published in Liminality, issue 11, 2017