poems as hand- and foot-holds on a glass mountain

A Few Chorus Lines

She’d set up her mental easel

high on the beach where compliant sand

would give an inch or so in welcome 


she’d wait for the light to come

in its mid-morning finest

I/We would sit beside her on a beached log

on its sea-tested buoyancy


the light is aways there, she said

I’m waiting for my eyes to adjust

I’m never ready for it, she’d admit


Sometimes whole families would pass

below us near the waves on hard-packed sand 

like pavement glistening after a hard rain

when the light came back full

kids and dogs racing, arms and tails waving

walking the sea’s long porch

as on the very water


Later she’d spend hours in her studio

painting an eery stillness she brought back with her

a near-sound steady below the rush of beach wind

bird-call, children’s shout, wave rumble


Sometimes at night when she slept

we’d go to her studio and check the canvases

to see if they were moving, breathing

as you’d check on a sleeping child 

the one on the easel glowed when we looked 

as if we’d switched on a lamp


They’re never finished or unfinished, she’d say

waving at the standing ranks of canvases

they’re under-looked or overlooked 

still happening; I’m just their original witness

they have as many lives as witnesses


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