Ghosts

I heard a noise this morning and found two men
leaning on the wall of my vineyard, looking out
over the fields, silent. Went back to my desk
until somebody raised the trap door of the well.
It was the one with the cane, looking down inside.
But I was annoyed when the locked door rattled where
the grain and wine were. Went to the kitchen window
and stared at him. He said something in Greek.
I spread my arms to ask what he was doing.
He explained about growing up out there long ago.
That now they were making a little walk among
the old places. Telling it with his hands.
He made a final gesture, rubbing the side
of the first finger against that of the other hand.
I think it meant how much he felt about being here
again. We smiled, even though he was half blind.
Later, my bucket banged and I saw the heavy one
pulling up water. He cleaned the mule’s stone basin
carefully with his other hand. Put back a rock
for the doves to stand on and poured in fresh water.
Stayed there, touching the old letters cut into the marble.
I watched them go slowly down the lane and out
of sight. They did not look back. As I typed,
I listened for the dog at each farm to tell me
which house they went to next. But the dogs did not
bark all the way down the long bright valley.

Jack Gilbert

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