Annabel Lee of Dumbarton
Mornings, weekdays, she makes the trek
from Azalea Avenue to Hermitage Rd.
with a blue visor and cane. We note time
from her locus on the curve. Too far down
and we’re late again, mid-way, we’re okay,
no specious excuses to be made at school.
Imagine that she sells tricks at Divine Magic
in the strip mall at the bottom of the hill,
or shoots pool at the Luxor Salon next door.
More likely she’s out for her daily exercise
a suggestion from her young gerontologist
at Westminster-Canterbury, senior home.
We depend on her to be our railroad whistle,
rooster, church bell that marks our passing,
in rain we are but a white Volvo slipping
through layers of time between concrete
and sodden clouds, no wizened beldame
to prophesy, recall jonquils, quote Poe.
If Annabel is not her name, it should be,
or Alice, who leaves us to wonder, does she
speak to ghosts at Upham Brook, soldiers,
the woman swept from her car by Gaston?
Anywhere you go around here, the past
intrudes, watches from the kudzu shadow.