for Joan McBreen

It was there, and then it was not,
but the pattern
became a part of us.

Our hands were shaped by rings,
our feet impressed
by many shoes.

The paths through yards
and routes around parks
are one with the veins
in our legs.

All old shirts have the sweat
of hours woven
in with salt.

Trees determine where
our houses stand,
and the notions of wood

murmur in our early words.
Stones have their way
with the streets we plan.

The dark cloud we
cower under is
the puppeteer’s hand.