This is how it begins This is how it begins: with a few lines written On a sheet of old paper that you found in the Back of the dresser in that seaside house you so Rarely even go to these days, but felt called to Just this Monday as you set down your work for the First time in so long. A soft, old note almost chewed At the edges by the faint-winged insects of time. Or the air itself, so liquid with memory: Pencil marks, sentences, so rich without meaning. How a river makes meaning If memory was a kind of faded thing, which sat in a corner, unwatched, unheard, as if it was just some old tyre iron or umbrella stand, some piece of not really anything at all, just picked up on a dusty afternoon out making mess in a shop raising funds for one of those old churches, what would be the loss? If you could find or lose it so easily, as if it was one of those twigs you see sometimes where the river meets the ocean. Perhaps there is an eternal something One of these days you will notice a thread or a musical chord, F minor reverberating on a halfwound string, or the sound of a piano key played softly and far off by a beautiful hand, Richter let’s say—just a single note sent out from Odessa, lamenting the bullet that took his father—but what space has it passed through, that chord, or that bullet, that it arrives so clear? Is it something, or nothing, or a little of both? House guests Some of the things that get in to this house are a little unexpected, like the scorpions in the bath, the little golden snake on the kitchen floor, the dog that looks like a wolf but is insane with bounding and slobbering joy, or the little hummingbird that came in through the window and stayed, humming of course, until it trapped itself under the stairs. Its wings like fur against my closed palms for one still moment as I walk to the open door.