Issue Thirty-Two - Summer 2018

I Contemplate Change while Reading Bleak House at Galley Bay

By Barbara Bloom

I dip into this tale of displaced children,
orphaned, waiting on their fortunes,
this summer of my own displacement.
The house has sold, my husband tells me,
his voice hollowed out by the phone.
We have to be out in sixty days.
When are you coming home?

I only make it through a few pages each night,
while darkness settles in outside the cabin,
and boats anchored in the bay pivot on their chains,
swinging with the tide and wind.

What they have to say to me,
these children drifting through their lives
with little else but hope,
I’m not sure, but their story
has a familiar feel.

With the darkness, fear washes over me
as I think of my own life—
my friends, my garden, the students who kept me anchored
from one day to the next.
Who will I be without this around me?
What will sustain me without the red-tailed hawks
who nest in the pines at the top of the hill,
the deer who raise their young in the orchard,
or the thirty- foot tall Belle of Portugal rose
I planted from a bare root?

I have no answers, so I turn back to Bleak House,
and though not everyone gets a happy ending,
Esther Summerson, who expects nothing for herself,
marries the man she loves,
and this, and the halyards
banging on the aluminum masts
in the dark bay just outside
eventually lulls me to sleep.

Copyright Bloom 2018