Innocence and White Windowsills

It’s sold now, the house on a distant hill,

and the gulls are but echoes in my ears,

the cistern of the harbor tipped and spilled,

the limestone cliffs sundered by the years.


I think about its white windowsills, the

horizon edged in clean enamel paint—

each a testament to Yankee will,

invoking the white of patron saints,


and wholesome as a cool glass of milk.

The world outside bound by perfect framing—

so pristine, you could eat upon those sills—

and calm as a Grandma Moses painting.


That part of my past is excavated,

those years a window that was shattered.

Yet I wonder, will the owners paint it?

They couldn’t understand how much it mattered,


the perfect white windowsills that framed

a life we hoped immune to the fates.

And sills keep out the tempests, the untamed—

I guess they somehow entered through the gate.


I’ll no more breakfast in that simple home

or hear my father’s slippers on the floor.

I’ll worry that I’ve no sills of my own

when storms beat my windows and my doors.


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