Behind a pearl-grey veil, the day
hangs on the cusp of nothingness,
its pulse no more than a rumour.
Barely a breath of wind to stir
the leafy crown of the chestnut tree.
On the horizon, ships can only be
guessed at. Sea bleeds into sky.
Hushed by the haar, seabirds drift
like notions, inklings, remnants
of dream. Silent, sure-footed, ghostly,
Harry the gardener, cradling trays
of seedlings in weathered arms
slips past my window. And then,
unseen, the tap of a hammer.
WORD OF THE DAY: LAZARETTO
I’d had my sanity walk—kept my distance,
held my breath—was cloistered for the vast
remains of the day. My view—seeping cloud,
beached cars, a wedge of sea. My mood
was overcast. The fish van passed:
blue flash of Neptune toting his trident.
I was Googling meanings for glory hole—
just because, and because lexical gems
as well as dross can rock in on the tide.
That it’s a junk room—the mundane
or obscene variety—is common knowledge.
It’s a ship’s locker too (a lazarette), and a pit.
But lazaretto—from Lazarus the beggar
rather than his resurrected namesake—
is a house of quarantine. The sun came out.
An elm tree’s shadow darkened the wall.
In the time this took to write, how many
more languish in a latter-day lazaretto?