In June,coming home

from Erie Canal, Lockport Locks, 

where the river’s dream flows to the sea

nieces, aunt, uncle, parents, we

were playing the children’s game- 

porcupine, piano, palaces-

naming words that start with p

sing song voices, ascending and fading

the water filled and emptied, 

the boat rose and fell

one sequential stage to the next 

the key and lock in minutes.


Reaching home voices

voices diminished to whispers-

physics paints parallel

points-a heavenly lullaby

in utterance and sleep, 

a different sound of peace.


One Saturday everyone joined

to hike a mountain. The children

leaped and climbed boulders

strewn in disarray everywhere,

hid behind trees, inside crevices,

read the rock’s faces with

astonishment and laughter

cupped their shadows in the stream,

the forest more than a vast

playground they imagined.


We were old shepherds

looking for renewal of youth within

to define performance

in language and play.


Time promised us a gift-

the joy of encounter, the way

to divine the proximity,

the presence.