I lived in an old inn
whose balconied stories
rode the heaving surf of the hillside
like a tall ship with many masts,
riding at anchor
above the valley floor.
Old-fashioned windows hinged
like wings you could shove open
to the winking moonlight. Gables
gave portholes to the ragged roofline,
and there was something in the way
the bow breached the air
over the hill that made the old
home seem to hove to and rock
in the wind. Hundred year old
Washington Palms rattled
their dry skirts and slid their slim
gray hips from side to side
like old hula dancers
who never forgot their moves.
A pair of white owls flew
up out of the dark, perched
on the top balcony’s high
rigging, then sailed off, their twin
faces holding the moon.
In those days, I often
kept the dawn watch,
that still, dark hour when the cool
mountain breeze flowed downhill
and rocked the great ship in its arms,
before the sun struck my windowpane
with its hammer blows of gold.