Mnemonic

Leaves in the eaves
of the photograph’s blue sky,
a sky not flat but arching
and pretend-deep—I look up, it’s
September and the tree
in the backyard’s
fading, soon enough
it’ll be winter,
embered, crisp-curled
leaves all matrixed
on the sidewalk,
a PhotoShopped
drawing. I can’t tell
the difference anymore. What
have I done with this year of living?
I fretted & fanged,
was a kind of
slang of myself.
Time slips on.
Used to know how to live,
now need a mnemonic,
or glass-bottom
boat tour, including
snorkels & a printed
photographic index:
angelfish, shark, sweetheart,
home, house, abode.
Or: apparatus
for funneling the moon’s
milk-light down
on skin. Everyone
walking around holding
something in. I see you’re really me,
lifelike but not alive,
an animal in a diorama.
Wake up, you! That marvelous
thing you never
imagined has arrived,
I see it there,
on the horizon’s vanishing
point, bursting
from the hawthorn,
unhurtable, unreal.

 

 

Meghan O’Rourke is the author of the poetry collections Once and Halflife and the memoir The Long Goodbye. She is the recipient of the 2008 May Sarton Award from the Academy of Arts and Sciences.

 

Issue #29 November 2013
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