Sunday, September 28, 2008

Only Longing

The umbrella reminded him of turtles, condoms, walking sticks, and certain letters of the alphabet. One stone fell into one shoe. She apologized to the executioner who leered, brandished a pair of shiny silver scissors.

The city was fake, invented as a dream, and when he reached out for it he was revealed that way, as one capable only of longing. The sheep came down from the hillside, bringing with them rain. The umbrella was broken but he couldn't part with it because it reminded him of an old photograph of his grandfather.

That was how it went in those days, three bills for dinner, then a long slow walk by the lake while the sun set. Your profile haunts me the way an injured crow might and not a single poem passes without some day set aside in it for you. He wrote, he made shit up, he put it all out there for anyone to read.

The last of the summer turtles slipped off its warm stone into the pond's murk and the echoes of it passing stayed in the air longer than one might expect. The ruins of old cars, a tractor, broken glass, shotgun shells - markers, all. The walk was long and on it God forgave him, lifted him up. made the brown trail and gray rain lovely for a moment.

One day and the mail arrived! He wrote that words alone could save him and this was something you understood, however you had resisted it some twenty years earlier. I did not forget the rose but only lacked courage to bear it forward in the face of your family's class-based disdain.

So at last the twenty sentences don a pale pink ceramic mask with painted tears below either eye. The circus was only half-set up before the mayor came down and said zoning laws prohibited its operation. The workers wrapped up in their musty blankets touched each other in the dark, they were the only ones who could say they were unafraid of sorrow.

We pulled the sleeping bag tighter which was an admission, and somehow also a letting go. The words falling away in the dark like drops of rain go unimpeded.

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