By Katherine Soniat
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Additional resources for A shared life: poems
The rain trickled down outside the porch, beyond this assembly of linens slung close to the lamplight, a moon wrapped in cloth for my tropics. Playing house was like praying with light, asking a veiled shelter to hold steady, bargaining with the green summer squall to brighten and hush. Page 8 What We Keep You and the moon taught silence. In the boardinghouse, quiet as a sleeping castle, you'd wake me and hush me, and off we'd move into the gardenia dark, headlights and cigarettes in a snarl. You must have been looking for someone far away, someone you wanted to come upon silently.
Monday returns. How hard men work is a history, each day passing surely into a flurry of machinery, ledgers. Fathers and sons sum each other up, pacing two strides apart, then three. Parting. <><><><><><><><><><><><> In the corner of this old desk drawer, I find a photograph of my father's forgotten father, two men with the same eyes. One harmless now, colorless as leaf mold: this man he refused to speak of eyes me with familiar austerity. Cold my fathering weather. Page 61 <><><><><><><><><><><><> A man hesitates in a field, reluctant to go farther than what he knows.
Page 23 Then I spotted the khaki cap in the store window on Main, and I could almost glimpse the two of us under the same hat, my mother saying again, you're his spit, that's how much you look like him. I thought of our first exchange. Page 24 Making Ghosts At first glance, it seems a glorification squeezed through the hand man and all the animals given a home in space; man discovering how to speak of his dead in present tense as if they could come in out of the rain, their ghosts cloudy and distant.
A shared life: poems by Katherine Soniat