Where blends the cane leaves with mist and rain/ Blends the shadow and the movement/ Each defining courage from fear, fear from pain.—Bivouac, 1990 From “A Theory of Echoes.”
(For Beau at 44)
I call it my hammock hour: time for stillness
to descend with sundown, shadows grown long
among the cane leaves, and I hum your lullaby.
“You were a break of laughter firmly cut
on father’s chin before your birth, your life
was a smile in the mischief of cigars.
You have been born before in a shock of memory
when all mother could remember were nights
father was the agile dancer dancing dense
the deep dark duty that you were. O my son.”
I cherish the stillness that makes sounds crisp
even as I talk to the shadows on my porch walls:
“When did you come home? I must have dozed off.
Have I ever thanked you for naming your firstborn
after my father, and your second after me? Is it true?
Mother said not after me, really. After you. No matter.
I named you after me. And they shall have longer shadows.”
But the sounds and the shadows move as movements move
and disappear with the night. I, too, turn down my hammock.
—Albert B. Casuga
Mississauga, Ont., 04-03-11