Palm Coast

      As if it weren’t enough, them getting older-
their mother’s hair silver now,
like daylight lifting tidewater fog,
like the surf curling beneath this near-full moon;
but to up & leave us all
with the summer just begun,
for their own place in a setting sunbelt dream..

They sold the house to a young newlywed couple
who could know nothing of the lives of five children
who learned to walk, right out back there
where the mimosa & forsythia called down Spring
to our grassy corner lot..

We five who took in orphaned cats
that summer the new high school opened on Oakton Road-
Whiskey, Molly One & Molly Two the youngest had named them,
and he loved to say how Dad could never keep the two Mollies
straight; but we who smuggled them into our beds at night
knew which was One and which was Two.
We who built pebble/mud dams on Lee’s creek,
who knew the old secret trails out to Mosby Woods & beyond,
who each were married on the lawn behind Mother’s daylilies-
we who once called this half-acre home.

But there is new tradition to be nurtured here now,
the childless among young ghosts..

We five, now witness to new life on a palm coast,
unpack our parents’ boxes to hang old photos
on spotless stuccoed walls;
thirty-odd years of our irenic histories
all taped up in newspaper, cardboard & wrap.
Oldest daughter brings out Earl Grey & macaroons;
and middle brother notes how it was always the kettle
& cookie tray that Mother set out
when we weren’t feeling well.

As we watch them swim laps under dark solstice skies,
aware we’ll all soon be back to each his own far flung lives
& how this house here will never be ours-
it is  youngest daughter who chills the air with her words:
Our Diaspora caught up with us,
full circle for five;
there can be no homecoming again.

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