If I could
like Winter shed the burnished colors
of my past, and drape the stripped fields
in empty white –
if I could, I might.
Might forget, might
cast off the history that burns,
the history that seethes,
the history colors me
in agonizing light.
And though I would shiver alone,
all unclothed of memory,
shaking like the naked trees –
still the old pain might cease.
If I could forget your face.
Would you depart from me then?
The final release from the remembered bond,
the last glance at a stained
page where a leaf once stayed.
The memory, finally, gone.
Still I fear you wouldn’t go,
and you would haunt me as you do now,
frozen, fixed against my every effort
to divest myself of you.
My every effort not to remember.
I would stare with my blanked gaze
against the cold backdrop of
a voided past, and in the unbidden glaze
of a recollected dream,
I would find your face.
There, behind the icy glass
of time’s strange wall, beneath
the cool frame of the scars I keep,
there in memory’s frozen deep,
I would find you again.
So I would bend to
greet you in the strange cavern
of my remorse, the echoed
walls. Leaning close to
the ice that holds your face.
Unremembered, and remembering
still, we would stare
eye-to-eye again. And could I resist
tracing your frozen cheeks, as if to
protect you from the cold?
As if to undo what was done;
as if to comfort you from yesterday;
as if to reshape the past.
My warm hands against your cold,
smoothing away the jagged ice.
What I could have done,
what I would do now,
all the tears I
should have shed for you,
as I looked at you again.
But beneath my desperate hands,
the rising heat of my regret,
your face would melt before my eyes;
and like a sudden, frigid wind,
I would have known you and lost you again.