in memory of Patricia Fargnoli

The house we’d rented had been
a captain’s home at one time,
later a village post office.
Bright and spare, lemon painted walls
and sturdy navy-blue armchairs,
but the stairs were narrow, steep.
My friend Pat’s bad knees meant
I’d be the one to sleep up there
with moaning century-old ghosts.

June in Maine can still be cold,
and below freezing, not impossible.
Snow had fizzled to spotty lace
on the browned grass and a lavender
bowl of languid crocuses welcomed us
to our writing space for the week.

But the true draw, effervescent,
thunderous, was the Atlantic Ocean
right outside the back door,
promising excellent early sunrise skies
and the presence of an ever-ready muse.

Since no poet can create
on an empty stomach, we ditched
our luggage laden heavy with too many
books inside the entrance
and trundled our hungry selves
a few blocks over to the local
lobster shack, a clapboard hut
leaking tempting briny steam.

Outside on a splintery picnic bench,
we cracked prehistoric boiled-red creatures
with our bare hands, butter dripping
from our fingers and faces.
Even if I didn’t compose a single
rousing phrase, my bellyful
of lobster each of our six days
would be visceral villanelle enough.