On counting cairns

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Tomorrow my son moves back in
bringing inexhaustible items
in large clear sacks
that swallow the floor
like jellyfish claiming
the soft sand along surf.

My younger son’s things,
and his girlfriend’s,
are piled up in the corner.

Constant piling, constant shuffling,
constant marking the month,
then the term, with a new pile,
papers to toss, clothes to sort,
receipts crumbled under sunglasses,
sacred marks.

In the next month of marking,
all will be swept clean again.

A flood will gush through our house
bring muddy stones, weeds, branches,
bits of river life, imbue the air
and then just as quickly the rain
will come down in torrents,
wash it spotless, leaving
no trace of their ever-presence

but just a sterilized hold,
unwelcoming to even us.

Thus the marking continues,
turns round on itself.
Piles self-generate,
river swells, rain cleanses
again. We count the marks,
are drowned, parched
in turn, again.