In Prvo Selo

by Chris Agee

In the tradition of the place, once or more a summer,
We return to our evergreen Žrnovo door
And find hung, leant or left round the bronzed handle
Or smoothed limestone threshold, some ghost-token
Of a visitor—a bow of straw, or sheer headscarf,
Or terrace cushion, or wildflower or bough plucked
Nearby at a moment’s notice. Sometimes, too, a gift
Materializes. Some tomatoes perhaps, or grappa
In a secondhand bottle, maybe a book or compote,
Lavender and oregano out of the adjacent fields,
Small cakes from a neighbour’s kitchen. And if
Merely a folded piece of paper, always with neither
Name nor note. Thus out of this village silence
Immemorial as Anonymous, you come to realise
You’re expected to intuit whoever it might have been
Who wished or needed seeing you at the dog day’s
Missed periphery. Though once in a blue moon too,
The gift-giver or visit, like a ghost guested all summer,
Asked after, stays unknown despite the guesswork.