–To E., again

My gray-faced friend,
You were with me
Again in the cloudy morning.
Surely still sleeping —
Perhaps dreaming,
You found that dark gate
And slipped past
The boundary wall
To sit and wait with me.

Don’t speak now.
The echoing words
Tear my paper heart.
We could scatter the pieces
Into the wind —
They will be a prayer,
To comfort
Your ache and need.

Unlike —
We played to pretend
We were stones.
And uncracked,
Rigid —
We would never yield
To the slow erosion
Of water and time.

But again, we were wrong.
Misled by mirrors,
And the soft brown eye reflection.
We could never be so cold
Or hard.

We were the furrowed field —
The unbroken seed —
Rain collected in a cup.

I could not let it be,
This wound.
Raw and ragged edge,
I felt blood
Spread like iron
On my tongue.
And this might have been our mistake,
But we sought these scars.

But wait now.
The unknown friend’s
Whispered words
Are crossing too.
They might heal it,
Or numb it
With sympathetic tendency.
(Now all of us
Hide behind words.)

I lose myself in the early song
Of the mourning dove.
And you,
My gray-faced friend,
Blacken the mirror,
Tell a story,
Send it into a bright light,
Speak it in the nighttime,
Then try to sleep it off

Try to deny it,
To sink it
In stimulation —
The fist,
The flask,
The false idol
At last.
All the while,
We both refused it,
But it never became

We were
The romantics.
I came to know this of myself —
The found,
The collected,
The mundane, holy things.
And, as the sun cut my eye,
The hands danced round her face again
And I listened to your echoing words —
A lamenting I never looked for —
And, tentative,
But growing more certain
(Though surprised, to be sure),
I came to know it of you, too.


About Emily

I may or may not have: A. Dirt B. Ink C. Paint D. Wool under my fingernails.

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