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Friday, March 25, 2016

Late Days

There was a song she sang with her eyes
if only in passing
a lullaby sculpted in sadness and yet
   sung with celebration and joy…
and this is what I knew of her

And so the morning sky squatted down
with overcast tones
cracking open only to give birth to
a confusion of sun and cloud
lying naked across the table, crying

I sat at a chair there, staring at a cup
empty enough to count,
swathed in light and shadow and thirst,
unsure of what if any
meaning even the least of it might hold

Beginnings must beg their endings, I guessed,
rising up to no occasion,
pushing myself from the table
with little resistance
and no really clear sense of where to go

It was later in the night that the candle would ignite
golden diamonds in her eyes
on which she delicately balanced all caution
against the passion of the flickering light,
encapsulating the questions of the day into the mysteries of the night

I arose from the table and stepped back into myself,
turning only not to see
in another direction, as the splinters of light
strewn across the table behind me
slipped and faded away into the distant corners of the room

Late season cicadas sang of summers lost
as I opened the door to step out
into the world in which we only pretend to own control
the purpose and direction of the path
lying before me partially obscured by overgrown weed and grass

The hours were due to drift by too slowly
before coming to an end too soon,
the designs that my mind had held the days before
to be obligations on these very passing minutes
had lost all color and focus between then and now
And yet she would hold the evening in her hand
as if it were a brush
with which she might create the very vision
of every human emotion
without so much as a conscious thought of doing so

There were things to do – I knew –
places to stop without going,
thoughts to capture before their outlines
dissipated into the shadows,
simple things now too complex to figure out

In a way, this day had a sense of needing to
start over again, maybe more than once,
there was nothing there to see past it with,
no glass clear enough through which
it might pause long enough to reflect upon itself

If this is it, this is what it is, it might have told me
as if saying such a thing could be
what it would be like to be imbued with wisdom,
but there was not conscious truth to
each step that I had taken or would yet take – they simply were

Time, when it arrived, would find me neither
sitting, standing, knelt nor dancing,
there could be no determined approach into,
away from, or around
the song with which she sang her every move

For now, the ground simply slipped away beneath me
with more direction than intention,
simple, sweet sunlight streamed past like a series
of post cards sent as if to suggest
that there might yet be other places toward which to go

But I cannot remember now quite where it was that
I did or did not quite get to,
   only that faintest of choruses of distant sounds…
the saws, the cicadas, birds and crickets, the
whole host of breeze-borne voices muffled by something to the air

Set two places at the table and wait
for an empty chair to gain meaning
conversations come and go without the need
  for someone to share them with –
It’s never the words themselves that crave the company

The greatest accomplishment of some late days
  is simply making it through them –
eventually our bearings will remind themselves
of what and where they are,
eventually something in everything will make as much sense as we allow it
Talk’s only talk – traded across a table with
   someone who is or is not there…
at the same table I rose and stepped away from hours before
it is the evening sweeping down around me
it is the light in the evening that will capture me for all and more than I know

She will smile with a shy sincerity that will beguile me
she will allow me the pleasure
of aching for places unknown and unseen
and I will wonder how it is that I might touch such a thing
even as I wilt before the glorious sparkling of its light.

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