The scent of blackberry sage tea
Like a whisper unheard
Steals through the house
Borne on cool spring invading through opened windows:
Plum blossoms, mold and forest, the fresh tea-like woodiness of redwoods.
In a moment
The space these walls enclose, shaping my restlessness, the air I breathe,
Now even silence is different,
As though I do not hear you
Not because you’re absent
But because you did not choose to speak.
Then a corner slides away revealing a suddenly empty chair
In an empty room slashed through with sunlight,
Bereft of ebon-silver curls,
Graceful neck unbending from a book,
And warming eyes reflecting what I once thought lost:
This poem was written around 1998 or so, just before Deborah moved up here from Los Angeles (to her own house) and brought the long-distance phase of our relationship to an end. Oddly, although our first houses were both surrounded by redwoods (the illustration is of mine), our present house has none on the property at all. No complaints; oak groves are sunnier by far!