… no one is present there, and everything is sheer persuasion.
Some nights when the house is all asleep he comes and sits out here on the steps with us and smokes and sips from a mug of tea. Here he can be and think as if he were alone – in one respect he is. A little breeze comes and goes, its passage traced in the rustle of our leaves. He thinks: – Sometimes trees are the best company. One can be at ease. With them there is no comparison. And for a moment considers: (us here) – how (seemingly forgotten and neglected) we grow; unobtrusive, constantly, abiding all extremes and variations, unsheltered, enduring, naked witnesses of every season, hidden for the most part in plain sight. – How close and modest and reassuring they always are, especially when considered. He takes a thoughtful toke and looks up – exhales, through our latticework of leaves – to the silent stars, and wonders … (Perhaps it is the smoke that disturbs one of our little sleeping birds who mutters something close, absurd, and settles again.) His ear – falling now to the hush of a lone car threading its way through the surrounding labyrinth – follows its fading sound.... He drinks the last sweet dregs of tea....
between soft thuds
of palm drupe, night’s lull-a-bye