Nobody's ever who they were
she wasn't . . . neither was he
Now, lifetimes later, over coffee
he slipped back in as if no time had passed

On a rise of returning bluestream

She curled into the threat of doing this again
luxuriating in someone else's dream
ready once more to believe him

Still, you'd think the Lord would be 
     a little more efficient
          not just some Magic 8-ball

blowing this man back into her life
to and fro like a feather on the wind

She chattered away, whipsawed between 
                                   elation and guilt
no longer the capable woman she had
                                   almost become

From her little mouth, useful in a pinch
a stream of unbelievingly meaningless crap
like Polynesian polkas, or something

He smiled, a bubble of cheerful attentiveness
riding her sentences, those box-car rhythms
the trick is to make yourself small and still
stillness was salutary, like most pain

So they settled into one another
easing into grooves worn wild with time
It was Nature's job to grow over,
turn the past into now

Nature?  You might as well say Love
a Love so swarmingly wasteful
what it sells at a loss,
                  it makes up in volume

The new perishes before the old, though
with no transition save a jump cut
borne only by some trick of mental smoothing

They sat, trading a few last stalling phrases
reluctant to say goodbye
at last the coffee gave out, 
                     along with their words

She couldn't see what she wasn't seeing
inside the mirror was the more likely
of the two unreachable places

a fingercuff that opens instantly,
if only she would stop pulling

You have to squint to tell the difference.

So many minutes since have stolen
The seconds from whence they came;
For fall must claim the summer broken,
And so memory is never quite the same
Seen twice, or thrice again:

Some forgotten detail must forever perish,
Some streak of colour, vivid, fall
To those monsters of oblivion that devour, relish
The hundred recollections that hold in thrall
A teeming horde of ink and stain;

And emotions snake, and curl their tendrils around
Memory, and all her many dreams within:
Smoke, and mirrors, that friendly frightful sound
Of a heart that, forgotten, still beats the living
Imprints of a hazy strain

Of a music, loved, through storm and rust -
Of symphony, mangled, by a love for the lust
Of a melody wilder than could be tamed,
By a tune too distant to be saved
From where it was slain;

Now ghosts must diminish, and despair
Of halls too meagre to haunt and claim:
For mists in a weary fog cannot scare
The infants of an age, come to fade
Seen twice, or thrice again;

And now I walk, in snow and fog unfettered
By a chain of attachments, slowly swallowed
By age, and a tide of hosts unlettered:
Vague, capricious kings of tomorrow
Dreamed twice, or thrice again;

So let me rest, and my tombstone inter
My memory, traced on stone, for me:
Memories of moments that never were,
Nor, in passing, could ever be
The thoughts of my passing train...

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