Grass Street 2000-2015
I thought, this is my time. I don’t have it
for long, and the way here was never easy.
Lauris Edmond, poet
I don’t come here very often, once
every few years, although the house
is just over the hill from mine.
But on some January days, like today,
I’m drawn with an irresistible
longing to walk down the zigzag
path, to inhale the scent of new
cut grass, the rising fragrance
like hay paddocks of my childhood.
At number 22, there is still a big
NO NUKES sign on a concrete wall,
there used to be a rainbow painted
letterbox as well, fallen down
long ago. I stand and look up to the deck,
once covered with geranium filled pots
and all the people who used to come here
to talk and laugh and drink and quarrel
and make up. Today the house is empty,
not a curtain nor a stick of furniture
and the path is barred with branches
that must have been cut within the hour,
the sap fresh, the leaves still full of energy.
I remember the day when we stood there
saying one of our goodbyes and you said:
‘Some day I’ll be gone, and you’ll have
to get used to it.’ And I said, ‘Lauris,
that won’t be for years.’ She didn’t hint
at illness, although when you love someone
and expect them to stay, it’s easy to overlook
a certain frailty. I’m not sure that I’m used to it yet,
that sudden exit, though fifteen years
have dissolved and the house has been tumbling
down ever since. I have gathered nasturtiums
from a bank, laid them at the gate, looked again
towards the forsaken deck, could have sworn I saw
her flag of yellow curls, heard that throaty laugh.