Family Lore

Were we to scramble up the crumbling steps
Of the red-shingled cottage by the sea
Smelling of salt and rain, and hollowed by moor cold
The peat moss with soft bulbous heads
Spread sleeping on the stone, a cushion for a mouse
And our bare toes, wrinkled by the long trek —
We would hear the rustling of the wind
Against the battered shutters left ajar
Abandoned like thieves in the dark
The luminescence of memories casting a wan glow
On nights spent gnawing on leather
And pulling spuds dark as stone from the ground
Handed down by a grandfather that never spoke
But did in the grimness of his lips
A history we dared to romanticize