Ending the Residency

/ /

Our seasonal thermometer,
the mast, wobbles,
gauging the time of year
by the cooling seawater,

while at three and four
the foghorn follows,
bleating off the intervals
of the dawn’s revival.

Dozing, half awake,
I go back to the house
off Wynnewood Road
where the fire bell’s crouch

still waits in the closet.
Something else comes back:
it’s days before we moved out.
As a teenage prank,

or genuine theft,
someone breaks in.
My sister comes downstairs
and surprises him;

he sees her, panics,
escapes with a copy
of my Penguin edition
of Les Mis. She stands

in her flannel, silent.
Now it’s late in the day
for another image.
I don’t know how to finish this.

Through the bay window,
the lower limbs
of the tree we climbed are gone.
Our parents, ready for the worst

emergencies to come, couldn’t
understand what hurt.
The sun comes out to relieve me:
nothing left was taken,

and at the back of the house,
in a stone well, half-fallen
into dust and mold,
the light is still escaping.