1122 VIEW STREET
The building’s gone, but its shadow’s not, torn
down, white adobe, and, behind the red
door, a paved courtyard open at one end
where past notice I at one time lived. Worn
rugs, walls aslant, scaly acoustic tile
and a window I’d not lock, ivy-draped
to shroud a burglar’s light-fingered escape
the ring with my birthstone scarcely missed, sold
for food I hope they ate. Through runs level
with my bed, mice inside the walls woke me
to cracks they still nose out from, words middened
in the dimness about my head, vital
to all I’m washed of, light’s apology
a residue, poetry a given.
John Barton’s twelfth book of poems, Lost Family: A Memoir, was nominated for the 2021 Derek Walcott Prize. His other books include For the Boy with the Eyes of the Virgin: Selected Poems, Polari, We Are Not Avatars: Essays, Memoirs, Manifestos, and The Essential Derk Wynand. He lives in Victoria.