I am boarding some days, gathering my things, shuffling
pleasant memories, dissembling the strength of arms
that so recently wrapped around me, like roots, mining
the last acre of skin for the strength to move on.
Through the next cavernous hallway, with the echoes
of muffled footsteps on the carpet, like the sound
of tiny meteors burying themselves in snow. A new country
will not approach timidly, it will pull at your memory like riptide.
At every destination I find people who look like people I knew.
In such ways do I build a past on the lost present
of jet lag, on hours stolen by time zones. In such ways
do I organize jettisoned thoughts, circling around
mental images like the corkscrew of inbound planes
waiting for their runways. Touch too succumbs
to nostalgia. When I rub my necklace I can feel
her skin through the plastic, when I hold the
leather notebook, I can feel the strength
of his handshake. New friends are measured
against the high water marks, shifting
in the mercury of mood. Friends remembered
shed their flaws in the negative space
of old photographs. Love remembered grows
in the empty space between bad jokes.
To be born again, do not forget anything.
To be born again, make fossils of your memory,
chisel away the debris and set the bones,
in the shape of a creature so terrifying
the mind is forced to extinguish it, and place
its skeleton behind the velvet ropes
The storytellers are reborn with each audience.
The story folds the air like origami, the words
weave themselves into the almost colors
of dreams. All stories travel, they move in the telling
and the remembering. They collect themselves
in the same instant that a small rock descends
into the snows of a quiet world, and that rock,
a shard from our dead world, in a holding
pattern of heartbeats will unfold
this story in the palm of a strange hand
and as these words untangle themselves
from the Earth’s debris, a stranger
will begin to look like me.