Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Marble Soul

When I flip through the pages of the past,
it goes like this:
yesterday, with open windows
first neat and cut
laid out side by side
and then sloppy as I go back farther, towards childhood.
I remember the red door, the smell of the dog’s food.
I remember the bookshelf low to the ground
page after page after page
and the murmuring groan of feet on hardwood,
rocking rocking chair
women cackles and coughing.
It goes on like this,
from the things I remember
to the parts I make up,
fill in like so much putty,
weave into ropes to
tamp down the tents.

Why not?

Tomorrow is just more flowers, bodily pink and spiked green.
It is only more kneeling at gravesites,
more ashes to scatter.
We will take off and put back on
the funeral clothes.
We will set and clear the table
as we have for generations.
All the births
except your own
are behind us now,
a soul like a marble,
round and glistening in your pocket.

You squeeze it tight, the way I used to.
You check your pockets,
padding down.
Is it still there?
Is it still there?
Well, is it?

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