Presence of Absence

imagine a front yard
extending toward the center
of the street, twice as far back then
when this street was narrow
and still made of dirt
like all the others
and before the church
was built next door
and before the plain
block building was built
on the other side
a time before
when horses
were the sole source
of motive power
on the street
before wires were
connected to houses
when firewood was split
for heat or maybe coal
when winters
were long
and before houses
were insulated

can you feel what it is like to be there?
can you close your eyes and hear the sounds
of horses’ hoofs on the packed dirt street?
can you feel the presence of all that
which has now come to be absent?
can you bring the awareness
of that presence of absence
and allow it to mingle
with what is present now?
can you be with what is
and what was all at once?