Bacchus Was Here
by James Shelley



How interesting to open my eyes,
eyelids shedding summer dew,
and remember I am lying on my back
in someone’s backyard

Moist grass warmly shapes me
Branches straight above are coating orange
from first sunlight
I am amazed by the tiny movements
of sparrows
How have I never seen this?

I half-expect to hear a screen door open,
a sharp command, then a dog
But I don’t seem very concerned

Propping myself, I see that
a picket fence encloses us---
Men and women in summer clothing
Lie strewn across a lawn
Between them, empty bottles
—green or brown
glint like cast-off jewels
A filament of smoke balances
above a spent bonfire

In the yellowing light
It is calming to watch
chests rise and fall
Upturned faces are tilted to one side
As if towards a loved one

I don’t remember their names, but that is fine
It is enough that we slept, and will awaken
in the same backyard

I stand up, unusually refreshed
There is no need to disturb my new friends
I will let myself out at the gate.






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