Absence, PresenceEvery absence is an ancestor: speak to it,ignore it, feed it, turn it out of doors,it will not matter— It knows where you live,which side of the pillow you prefer in sleep,where you buy eggs and milk and toiletpaper. It knows whom you last kissed on the mouth,how you cried to read that poem written byyour daughter, your bewilderment at the strokeafter stroke of bad luck that came the yearyou decided to say I do to your green, unprovenheart. The roses in the garden bloomed and withered,and then came back. Dormant doesn’t mean dead,only sleeping. Winter is another form of absence,some say a kindness: substituting whiteafter white for all the gutted fields beforetheir softening in spring. Absence, presence—I bow to you my ancestors; I stoke the fireand save the bones for soup in these cold monthswhen I am most reminded I am your kin.