The Persistence of Memory

I almost laugh at forgetting to forget you,
just before I sink my foot too deeply in the mud.
My boots were stitched to stop wet clay and dead damp grass,
to stump the silt and puddles, dirty fingers prodding my dry socks.
Wet wool chafes like greasy sandpaper. I hike home.
My clothes smell like mushrooms and mice and mildew,
and the rain reminds me of your mouth.
The boots are tired bloated leather babies
being dragged home by my ankles.
I pull them from my feet and hide in bed,
too drained to shower.

I dream of warm mice growing families, pushing
and bending back the dry grass in my heart
to make room in such a tiny
. As it descends on them like cold
campfire smoke, I dream that your smell of mushrooms
and your taste of bookdust
and your sour sting like warm wine
is suddenly filling the space
where my mice wait

In their borrowed ventricle,
they nudge each wall, and curl up into
disappearing sleep
The vapor makes them dream of you and smile:
I'm not surprised.

I force this dream not to blow over
and keep these almost forgotten oceans in my lungs--
wake up
I splash cold water
on my colder face
and put on icy boots
and dry clothes
that still smell like
books and mice and mushrooms.

jurph, 1997