The woman at the counter said she could
not tell me where the poet Roethke drowned.
The Bloedel Reserve wanted to put on
a happier face, a garden in the wood
and clifftop eyes above the grey-blue Sound.
The pool where they discovered him was gone;
the dying place torn out, replaced with sand
and stone. I learned by going where I had to go
and there I woke to sleep, and took my waking slow.
Yet his memory had been erased with sand.
Even yesterday’s footprints were all gone
beneath the zen gardener’s rake. And sound
itself was silenced by the moss-eaten wood.
But the stillness was like a thing put on—
where all the sad thoughts were banished or drowned;
you were not allowed to think them, but I could.