This afternoon I imagine I'm writing in a Welsh inn,
even though I'm at work thousands of miles away.
I sit at a table in the corner,
notebook before me, pint glass beside it.
The copper gleams darkly over the fire,
which crackles and smokes gently behind
brass andirons; the beams overhead are blackened.
Outside the diamond panes of the deep-set windows,
the rain streaks, the trees shake and moan.
Two men lean their heads together at the bar,
at first suspicious of me, and then forgetting to be.
The landlady brings a hunk of bread and butter,
a bowl of thick soup which rapidly cools.
The pen in my hand becomes a fountain pen,
my notebook a sheaf of yellowed parchment,
because time, this late afternoon, is a sieve
which I pass through and back again, no wiser.
This despite how hard I try to cage it with words
incised in spidery ink on the stained pages before me.
In the falling darkness, the landlady
will touch a match to the candle on the table.
for Roger & Julia
I never knew the difference
between arrival and homecoming
until that early summer afternoon
when the train slid into
Worcester Shrub Hill station,
and I, standing at the door
with my blue suitcase,
saw your faces, watching intently
from the platform where you waited,
each passing car for me.
About the author
Anne Britting Oleson has been published widely on four continents. She earned her MFA at the Stonecoast program of USM. She has published two chapbooks,The Church of St. Materiana (2007) and The Beauty of It (2010). A third chapbook, Counting the Days, is forthcoming from Pink Girl Ink, and a novel, The Book of the Mandolin Player, is forthcoming from B Ink Publishing--both in early 2016.