A song came on the radio, one I remember
from when I was in love. It was disconcerting
to feel the feelings of years ago well up fresh
as yesterday. I can picture a humble apartment,
the daily dance of just-marrieds fumbling their
way to companionship. Yet there were days I
longed for my singularity again. There were
nights I stood outside and stared rapt into
inky blackness, transfixed by constellations,
aware of the gentle beat of repeated melodies
from the tape deck. My musical tastes have
changed, maybe in response to the divorce.
I abandoned a whole genre in order to not be
reminded of you. Yet here was the odd song
from the past, determined to track me down.
There is no defense against whims of super-
markets. There among the apples and navel
oranges I stood, head cocked as the familiar
refrain wormed itself into my brain. I partook
of some mental jujitsu and allowed myself to
hum along, accepting the music as I ducked
and threw it over one shoulder into the vast
closet of regrets. I was reminded again life has
constants, here, in a night sky where distant
stars thrum as strong as a long forgotten song.
You wondered at the things
that changed me, gave voice
to attributes much loftier
than needed, when really, it was
the minutia piled against a soul—
stacked, entangled, repositioned
with each shift of the wind—
caught in the throat of change
as the storm hammered down.
It was the little things,
the ones you shrugged off,
mere ice crystals on an overcoat
melting into nameless dark flecks.
Damp chill brings primitive fear-
reek of blizzard-driven sheep
heaped, defenseless, against
whatever object stopped
forward motion. They die
together, in illusory warmth,
thinking the fence their savior.
Garden walkers gaze through a tangled
hedge of roses hoping for a glimpse of
Wonderland. Rock, rock, rabbit, off he
goes, dodge and dart, a streak on our
peripheral vision, drop of rain caressing
an April windowpane. Oh, to give chase,
to feel the grass unwind beneath fey feet
and spring us forward, fast as a hound,
all mimsy until the rabbit hole. Fling your-
self in after, tumble round, there’s nothing
but doors, each opening into a separate
universe, some with stars, some without.
This is where comets are born and shoved
squalling into space, racing each other to
the future, one where they return home,
laurel-wreathed, discontent, transformed.
How egotistical of you
to assume lack of resistance
to your gravitational personality
was the only reason to stick
around, although I admit
at first the push-pull
of our relationship
was an attraction.
Surely you knew free fall
could not go on ad nauseam.
Here I am, dropping
over the horizon
at a constant rate,
hoping against hope
I gain enough speed
to stay up, to reach escape
velocity. That I haven’t, yet,
is no reflection on you,
just the weight
of your self-containment.