There is a Place

by Darby Mitchell


— but where it is
or how I came to that place,
I do not know —

Off the highway it was,
perhaps a cloverleaf,
a curve down —

Where did I think I was going?

— a narrow road, dark, to the right,
and there, at the bottom,
right there, at

Summer evening:

Gray stucco house,
old,
alone,
a fountain,
dry.
children
playing in a time that is gone,
vanished —
their voices only, lingering after long sunset
On the breeze of dusk —
The hidden laughter of living breathing shadows.

— hide and seek!

You can’t find me! —

I should have stopped.
I should have looked in the mirror,
Looked back to see if I’d seen anything at all,
But, not belonging there,
Or fearing that if I did stop,
They’d stop their play,
See me as a stranger,

But of course I was a stranger!

I drove on.

Surely the house, gray,
the fountain, dry,
surely the calls of the shadows of children at dusk
were real,
were present,
and yet —
a moment only —

a place I’ll never come upon again —
a memory I had not known I’d lost.


Copyright © 2007 by Darby Mitchell

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