Tuesday, November 08, 2011

My terrible forgetting

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After The War

These years later, I can’t imagine what we might
have talked about on the road through Tuolumne.
We rose up and up from a night in Lee Vining,
the little motel we scratched a small make of love
in, the morning shower we made fogged-glass
faces that enjoyed mining ribs just the night before.

Yes, we talked, we made love, as if the war might
erase it all before we were through leaving ourselves
to whatever history might make of us, the war of
brevity, the war of vanishing days that take from
us everything we fail to keep through long relentless
nights that scrub it all down to the next bare dawn.

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I may well have pointed out some peak or other,
your eye tracing along emerald mountain meadows
cut through by black brooks bled from stubborn crags
still summered with snow. Tales of westward pioneers,
the bloodbound recount of the Donners, your questions
tendered softly has if speaking too loud might rouse
them down from high couloirs unseen from here.

What remains from all of that is a lingered scent
of morning light on bedsheets, dreamspun curls of
gold that held your nape and shoulders like rings
of baysmoke uncoiling over low coastal hills,
sourdough breadbowls of chowder we shared as
we walked between a din of gull and Pier 39 seals.
That, and my forgetting of it all, my terrible forgetting.

Joseph Gallo
November 6, 2011


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