pearls

Backtrack

Posted in nothing special by maggie on 2009/06/20
Backtrack

Quickly quickly as hurried leather racing down step step step,
too fast to fill in the words, too late to go back for what
might have been left, to look through all the counter tops
and drawers and pockets and closets and corners and rooms
where you might have been.  Were you in the building's basement,
spread through boxes I'd not meant to store, a relic lost
in years of jumbled memory soup that never got thrown out?
Were you in the utility room, posing as one of my father's tools
so I could keep you?  Or in the jeans I haven't worn
for over a year for how loose they've decided to become,
as though imitating you, and you trying to be more like that.
I should give you a place.  You should have your own place
so I don't have to rush out like this, nervously tapping through
the last places I remember you being, the ones I knew about.
Might you still be tucked for a bookmark in my Rimbaud,
impatient for my return, hoping you won't forget that new twist
you think I hadn't seen, eager to tell me even if I have?
Have you left the ash tray, where last night's punctuation marks
are bent down like sinners on their knees, lost in replay
what they saw in the fire?  Or behind one of those stray sounds
scribbled in the margin of the newspaper several weeks old,
one of those stray sounds I record thinking to remind myself,
so will tear off and save with the rest when I see it again,
if I see it again.  If I see you.  If I see you again.
This should not be as hard as I'm making it out, to fret
over you like I've skipped a note, as though I've dropped
you off to be recycled, or couldn't spare the heart's one beat.
Aren't you as there as my morning coffee, as hot in my throat,
as hungry as the day to touch my bone?  Won't you be thrown
like a gust of senses bouncing off the glass, reflecting glare
from storms beyond our grasp, except through how we push
pretending it had been us making things move that way?
Or in the part of my dreaming I don't bother trying to tell
since I know it was real enough on its own.  As real as it all.
Hadn't you noticed, or did you think I'd changed: I don't go back.
You may have been sporting a disguise behind one of those scenes
stuck in a loop in the what-if I shrugged off?  You were maybe used
as the model for one of the metaphors I might have picked up
had I paused to re-edit my most recent piece?  Or more like the point
I ignored in the heat of last night's worst fight, when you tried
to make peace by taking the fault and that wasn't close enough.
One can't move forward looking behind.  If you wouldn't see that then,
now is not the time.  Not for you.  Not in taking the stairs down
rather than wait for the lift.  I can't wait around for you now.
Not in crossing the street before reaching the light.  I won't
put off things needing done to go searching for you.  Nor in words
I exchange for a good day's wage, nor in what I used to believe
it all meant, nor in hopes nor in fantasies nor in faith nor in love.
I don't have that kind of time.  Some of the lost aren't meant
to be found.                                                   Oh.
There you are.         There.          In that hole in my thought.

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