are mournful gulls,
the hollow clang of lobster boat bells,
the cloak of November melancholy
misting over a small harbor town,
a place facing backward at Pleistocene tides,
at gravity’s pull on the moon and the sea.
I often felt sad at my parents’ home.
When my plane touched down, I sank in the cold,
the constant swashing ebbing and flow
that laid bare the truth of growing old:
my mother’s walker and armchair that stood
silent and sad in the white living room
and gazed at the harbor like invalids would,
bottles of pills throughout their home—
a breakwater against disease and old age,
the current that carved their lives to the bone—
lives that became a subtraction of things
like dignity, friends, the simplest breath.
The shrieking gulls that sounded like death.
I wish that I could remember their home
for the hearts and beloved souls inside
without the ghost of a New England town
that showered snow with additional grief
on my head and shoulders, the granite headstones.
But the place and the people were one for me
and now I can’t help but think of old age
as a tide that pulls us out to the sea.