And Standing before Those Canvases, He Said, I Would Feel This Tingling

Some things no one says aloud.
But he was there if he says he was.

Bleaching fields and buttermilk.
The stench of breweries and lye.

Two-thirds of his life before this one? Sky.

His current city rises off a river not Lek,
though here in the gallery, a train ride away:

The impossible familiar. The somehow known.

The curator has written:
On the crowded ferry, cows attempt to drink.

But anyone can see that one scratches her neck,
a good-sailor cow, sickle-hocked, not parched.

Cows like that. Yes. He remembers.

Also that, downriver, float the fishmongers’ baskets
of haddock and crab.

On the way home, this will be also his view,
the river running toward its source, a reverse birthing.

But now, he sees that Rembrandt has wired coils of light
into the shipbuilder’s ruff.

He remembers shipbuilders, the horizon
upon which sailed their fluyts, and above which: homesick.

That was what we call a long time ago
because it has to be called something.

And now? The guard warns him back from one world.

Rose hip. Willow. Sea salt.       The infinite clouds.

More Poems by Carla Panciera