From my desk, I can see a fuschia bush, the backlot of a closed inn, the shed over what had been a market yard, and a disused Protestant graveyard. So much is closed in this town: the names of darkened shops and bars resurface in conversations as shades of an archaic past.
Looking at that bush, I remember how lush and green it was in the summer, clamorous as the ocean whenever the wind stirred it. While I was mourning my father in California, it had been divested of its glory by a violent tempest or simply the passage of time, shook, thrashed, and plucked into a great prickly tangle of bare twigs to which, here and there, a few stubborn blossoms cling. Departed are the birds that had nested here, including a blackbird I'd glimpse once in awhile, creeping stealthily within the shadows. I could almost cry for that innocent summer.
At dusk a wren alights. An Dreoilín, the King of All Birds. It tsks away, there in the darkening gloom, a passing flicker of life in the skeleton of a greener, happier season.