Tuesday, April 29, 2008

"The Last Time"

Cooler weather. The lawns flecked with sweet violets flicking side-to-side in the breeze. Too cool in the shade to be without a jacket, though I almost never wear a jacket and tend to walk in the shade whenever possible. Less glare.

Hedges of lilacs in bloom, that cloying sweetness, funereal, permeating the entire town. My dad says the smell attracts ticks. I've never looked this up. Not wanting him to be wrong about anything. Meaning: he speaks rarely. Meaning: I miss his voice, its certainty.

The pepper seeds sprouted today: first, the elbows. Tiny latch hooks arching from the soil. Next, the hands. I've filled every possible shelf in the laundry room with seed flats and jars of cuttings.

I walked past the poetry center today, first time in a long while, because I wanted to see the Virginia bluebells in flower--a mass of them among the pachysandra, the blossoms in gradations of pink and violet-blue. As I passed by, my keychain came apart and bing! bing! bounced in pieces along the flagstones. That's never happened before. It's brass, sort of horseshoe-shaped, with a threaded rod in the center that had come undone. I found both pieces.

** ** **

Here's a poem by Amy Meckler, from her book What All the Sleeping Is For, which I'm really enjoying:


He was there, a man from the waist up hovering even after I woke up
and looked back. Light enough to distinguish gray from black, I knew

he was a ghost of someone who loved me. I felt Jason, but is Jason dead?
Cancer still breeding in his bones when I left him, but he looked healthy, still tone

in half his height, a figment I knew I hadn't invented by wishing. He seemed
to be marrying me, his half body like a groom's watching a procession, but

his face was a father's angry at his daughter caught in some forbidden room.
I froze, stared back, said Ok, Ok, meaning You can disappear now, and he did

then the phone rang to prove I was not dreaming. Lime rose
from a glass left out overnight, brought to mind the summer I drove to see him,

waited by his apartment door. I looked up from my book to check my watch and
he was standing outside the glass, looking at me in my summer dress, sunned hair.

The last time I saw him whole. He asked me, and I said no.

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