Shadow & The library
[ poetry - february 07 ]
How can a man throw his shadow make this the illumination of his experience, how put his weight exactly - there?
- Charles Olson
When we look back it is there, that
darkness of ourselves born
of days when the sun was blinding.
I trace what's left on the pavement
where you walked, schist or shit,
your heavy feet relearning those lost steps,
a dance we moved to once,
a shadow play in liquid streetlight,
late lamps, sodium glow of stars.
What mattered was matter, the precise
weight of you, so many ounces
of flesh and blood,
your hand on my shoulder, solid
and light like music,
our empty glasses on the table,
beakers for what cannot be
contained; the feather
of our lips, our touch.
The fire was never lit. Cold, her body
was alert to words, her pores open to knowledge.
Sealed off from the rest of the house, padded
with paper and board, the only sound was the turning
of the page, a whisper, her shallow breath.
Gone. The books scattered to far corners,
cities a thousand miles away, strange
against paperbacks with rainbow covers,
they still carry the scent of deerskin and beeswax,
mildew-travellers from an antique land.
The model ship that used to drift the dark oak desk
is lost, never to reach the new world,
never to return home. She would touch
its windless sails, wonder at how they could make
everything so small. A planet reduced.