for Guy Goffette

Reconstitute a sense to make of absence
in the still heat of noon, south, summer
where spindled years unravel and unwind,
A hound bays behind a fence. An old white van
beached beneath oleander in a yard
rusts where it ran down, where something came to grief.

Some summers joy illuminated grief,
and solitude was savory. Then absence
was a prelude, then stiff, starched flag-striped yards
of sheet on a clothesline flapped in a sudden summer
gust, like the curtains on a caravan
parked in a town square, billowing with wind,
while children anticipated drumrolls, wind

instruments, brasses, florid joy and grief
mimed close to home. From the striped awning of a van
whiffs of merguez fried with onions, smell whose absence
would be a small, real rift in the stuff of summer.
Would have been. The dog paces his three square yards