Thursday, October 13, 2016


Foundation of House near Kings River

For Sylvia

Some places have the significance of a dream
that surfaces again after many decades,
like the foundation of the house in the flood plain
of the Kings River. Oaks have grown where the floor

used to be, and brambles, on one side, have conquered
the concrete broken up by roots. When I was twelve, I chased
my brother through oaks and pines beyond a sandy beach
where our father was fishing and discovered

the foundation of the mansion next to the river. After I
inched like a tight-rope walker on the unbroken concrete
of the foundation, leaping across spaces where doors
had once stood, I stopped in front of broken, tilted chunks,

disappointed that I could go no further. My brother
dashed away, ditching me again, but I remained,
alone, confused and fascinated. Suddenly
I heard a male voice state that I would be back

Foundation Broken Up by Roots

in thirty-five years. I couldn't tell if the voice
was in my head or if it came from somewhere
nearby. I searched, but I couldn't see anyone.
The voice terrified me, but like so much in childhood,

I eventually forgot about it. Thirty-five years later,
I was driving on the narrow road along the Kings River
and happened to look down at the exact moment
when the foundation was visible through the trees

in the floodplain below; if I had looked down a second 
before or after, I would have missed it. I pulled the car over
and hiked down to the foundation, retracing my steps
along the low concrete wall. When I reached

the broken concrete, I waited to hear the voice
again. Why had I come back? Nothing. What
has survived the past thirty-five years
is my love for you and our children,

the oaks towering over the foundation,
the brambles still flowing
over the broken concrete.