We know how it is

I will write this poem
because I can or must
or the words will rust
maybe it’s not a poem
or maybe it is we’ll see
I’m going to do my best
in the time I have

You know how it is
we all know how it is
the roads fill with rain
horizons shift and soften
the mountains go away
the dogs bark at nothing
and we let them

Because we are tired
of denying the strangeness of it all
the children growing up
old ones passing
the music growing fainter
the town shortening its name
to accommodate the loss of stories

With each passing year
the chimneys exhaling
bats one day,
swallows the next
as if it was all for our entertainment
the rumbling of the thunder far away
the tickets we sell each other

For raffling off the fruits of summer
socks in winter and homemade jam
in six-sided jars
with hand-printed labels
I’ll tell you about life on the island
before it goes away
there was a young couple on their honeymoon

Who asked the musicians to play a waltz
and they danced as the rain began to fall
they danced as the thunder rumbled far away
the poem can end like that
or maybe with the ferry
churning up the harbor
as it heads for the bay