Bits of Sun

O my father’s house: the proud patch, mortgaged tear,
with the tale-spinners under the humblest tree,
which begged bits of sun on his ice and coal yard.
No birds — full-bearded, virile men found solace
in the genial blight of its shriveled shade.
The carefree chat, the prime sport, rolled as a stream.
O my father’s house, bleak as the winter night,
when out of quenched fires slipped in Eden neighbors
and hid in ambush, in the covered mirrors.
The moon went down as an indolent tumor,
in the dull-eyed hick town, at Passaic River.
Stones knew the mute panic of silenced objects.
The gray street was a legendary snowland.
The tree: frost-rent, each limb — a shroud in the wind.
The urine of sewers was its smarting dew,
gnawing it from heartroot to crown gall alive.
The sole admirer left was the woodchopper.
Hewed down, it was my father’s wood nymph again.