new poem from the Winter 2013 issue: Melissa Morphew, You Left And

22 Jan

path

 

You Left And

 

the sun stopped shining

on all the lakes of the world,

gray clouds descending

like fog, the grass dried,

yellowed, so every photograph

turned sepia, instant nostalgia

for a present we possessed as past

but couldn’t walk backwards through

toward some meaning, some reticent understanding,

trace the last pink flower pressed

between pages of the family Bible,

this fragile reckoning written

in the parlance of love, this onionskin

memory, the words blurred,

smudged by too often turning

to the same page, never moving beyond

the stained crease of obsessive familiarity,

footsteps faint upon mahogany stairs,

the thermostat broken, the house empty

except for woolen blankets, heavy quilts,

wrought-iron beds, lumpy mattresses damp

with mildew—a talisman of loneliness—

not a single window, a single door

opening onto a garden,

some orchard made of light.

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