For Mrs. Murray

I walked past your house tonight,
Perched on the edge of the sea
It shone so brightly that to look at it
Was like staring at the sun.
So I turned towards the cove,
Counting time between the flashes
From the headlight, miles away.

Four seconds between sweeps of light
That caught me stealing your lonely view
I rounded the corner,
That side of the cottage black,
Except for one pale window.
You stood, head bowed, washing dishes,
Glowing like an icon, a saint in prayer.
I thought you might look up,
But you’ve been alone -
Four years now, or is it five?
You’ve probably forgotten to expect
Your husband’s footsteps on the porch.

I walked on, passing dark bushes
On a road cut through dark fields
And heard a single, one-note bird
Cry his flat song into the night,
Against the trill of a thousand crickets,
A thousand stars.


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