You remember most the empty house,
how it centres to your point of view,
and looking back you see its shape,
the cresting roof, the attic glass that broke
there once and fell away, and dimly,
still, the rows of sleepers with
empty rails, which led you somewhere,
you suppose, though nowhere you could name.
Now and then the place returns to you
like this: the dazzled porch, the empty field,
the bedroom windows staring back through
darkened shades, and where the ridgeline
gutters down, a finial still rises up to pin
the sky, as if to make it yield.
My father never gave advice
and often he would say to me,
remember not to let your house
grow higher than the apple tree.
My father was a loaded gun
and though he had the upper hand,
his trigger finger shrunk with age
then beckoned me to follow on.
The dead draw back across the years
that spread like brambles round our feet.
They waive all claim to still be known.
They fall away like spoiled wheat.
Michael Daniels lives in Sheffield, UK, and has worked as a psychotherapist for the NHS and non-profit sector for a long time. In between he writes poetry & prose and some critical writing. A selection of the poem cycle Ravenser Odd was published in 2022 (Poetry House Pamphlets). Reviews have appeared in PN Review among others.