identification from height

Poem #21 from The Book of Evenings

Back to: The Book of Evenings – Introduction



shelter me from storms


there’s a monotony that comes
from living in the tree-lined
the leafy streets that promenade
all up and down
the smallness of this tiny town

a figure is at the bed
in a room in a house
leaning across to bathe
the brow of a restless soul
tossing and turning
running into fever
in the drenching of a torrid time

singing little snippets

underneath her breath
like a crooning angel
ministering by mouth
at a pace that surely surely
must bring deliverance


she sings

baby you’ll be fine

mama’s on the job

mama takes no prisoners
baby she’ll stop dragons
from sneaking in to take advantage
mama’s by your side

baby baby babe

maybe that isn’t what she said
she might have sung some song about
the sinking of a boat
in the middle of a flood
while she was bathing off the sweat

I only know the wind blew
and shook a leafy branch
or two
up against a window
of the house that hugged the street
in a small town
dressed in brick and wood disguises

that every place and every one
every tree that stood the kerb-sides
was like a replica
and rising above them
in heated levitation
through a fog that yielded to clarity of sight
and identification of the patterns
of the houses
the allotments
of the avenues
the straight and the winding roads

that there was nothing
to choose between them

they are all the same
when you see them from the sky
when you kiss them all
and wave
stretching out your hand           your fingers
for goodbye

except for one place where a woman
reaching with a washer
croons in a low voice
singing you back
to where you are the one
truly the only one

baby baby
I’m calling you a way 
whispering the path

baby come on home


© Frank Prem 2003

The Book of Evenings Poem #22: katy’s scrubbing up


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