My Grandmother’s Love Letters
There are no stars tonight But those of memory. Yet how much room for memory there is In the loose girdle of soft rain. There is even room enough For the letters of my mother’s mother, Elizabeth, That have been pressed so long Into a corner of the roof That they are brown and soft, And liable to melt as snow. Over the greatness of such space Steps must be gentle. It is all hung by an invisible white hair. It trembles as birch limbs webbing the air. And I ask myself: “Are your fingers long enough to play Old keys that are but echoes: Is the silence strong enough To carry back the music to its source And back to you again As though to her?” Yet I would lead my grandmother by the hand Through much of what she would not understand; And so I stumble. And the rain continues on the roof With such a sound of gently pitying laughter.