Monday, November 17, 2008

I shall give you roses

Phantom fragrances tickle my nose
Ghost-like fingers send icy shocks up my spine.
The powdered floral scent—
Always yours—
mixed with perspiration and undertones of high school angst
rubbed off on you when embracing your graduates, your alumni
who came to visit
like homeless pigeons
back to the sanctity of the nest,
the safe haven of the wooden floor, painted black
dim lights
orange couches
stuck-on chewing gum
and years of whispered secrets couched between the folded, cushioned chairs.

Your pale blue eyes
devoid of life
are closed now,
entombed in the pasty white of your stony face.
The chance meeting over oranges or potatoes is firmly in the past,
where you always wanted the past to stay,
but the ring of
“Hi Sweetie! Hi Cutie!”
still peals in my ears.

The last time I saw you—who knew it would be the last?—your clear eyes were tired,
the lines on your face more deeply-carved.
Your hug was still as warm,
but the bald head hidden under a black baseball cap,
the tell-tale one-sided sag of your sweatshirt told me.

I’d said my good-byes
Formally
when you had bid farewell to the life you’d once known
destined to go on with someone else at the helm.
And yet,
here I sit—it feels like a lifetime later—
immobile
as images from my history flicker by on a screen
reminding me how far I’ve come
and how much further I’ve yet to go.

The bubbled-up catch in my throat,
chokes my breath.
I swallow it down once more
and turn back to the task at hand,
mindful only until the next time the faded powdered roses float by,
plunging me back into memory
of you
of all that came before.

awj
17 nov 08

1 comment:

Legion said...

I thought I posted this but I guess it got lost somehow.

Loved this, found it very melancholy, like the long ache of a far away loved one.