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You forget

“You forget people as you go along
So the pictures kind of keep me up
even when I’ve forgotten their names”
When you look at her ragged, ugly face,
you see her ragged, ugly soul—
like some clichéd melodrama of old
where appearances are everything

I’m sorry, my dear, but I don’t
think it right the way this peacock and
small lion are stuffed, mounted and
displayed for your astonishment, in
your apartment, day after day, while
you wait to add some dead, stuffed owl (held
up in customs, you say?) to your collection

Galway taught me—
“Few things are like other things”
I immediately agreed
We need the individual thing, to know
how it moves and changes, how
this fire doesn’t go out, doesn’t
yet stop and isn’t yet done

I awaken somewhere different
today—there’s the sun and yes,
it’s the same sun, but its colors and
textures aren’t the same, and twice
a year the setting sun aligns with this
ragged, rigid city grid and illuminates
everything through to the river

What nature does as a
whole easily, isn’t so easy—
A Michelangelo must arrive
to wrench the life from stone,
a Beethoven must come to
wrench the life from sounds
The life we, as individuals, seek

I saw two white swans in Alley pond
They were feeding together
I saw another swan later
It was nowhere near the pond
It was asleep, I think, or dead
“Don’t ask big men for small
things” alive or distinct

Sometimes a chasm opens
up towards my back and
the back of my neck and a
deep sadness fills it like
a fissure so ingrained that
I start to cry and must pause
to regain myself

The big man reaches to take
his wife’s hand and she publicly,
meanly, swats his hand away
and I think these two, they’re
even cruel to each other and I think
about the people I’ve  loved and
what I didn’t mean to do

There she is, seemingly off
her head, no longer admired or
looked up to, as though money for
her was the only true symbol
of regard—now trapped in a hospital
system’s surgical machine, like some
frail, sad, unknowable thing

 

 

-June 3, 2017-