Friday, December 18, 2009

Last Walk

I refuse to believe your forgetfulness, as if you didn’t have an epiphany

when I had an epiphany. We hadn't spoken for some time, your brother had

just won a competition welding bicycles onto the shells of refurbished Impalas, and

Foster Wallace had just hanged himself, though we hadn’t yet heard

and this wasn’t the epiphany. I watched a man in rags on the opposite bank sway in tides,

hunching, unhunching, and you wore such a sensible scarf

for September, paisleys like pond scum rippling out across your neck.

You say you don’t remember the geese’s noisy irreverence or the birch dropping

their gold under our feet, mocking us. I took just enough

steps to keep up, all the while stealing

your private clichés: your self-sacrificing ‘life lessons,’ your 'care deeply’

which you always claimed meant something

other than I meant. But this wasn’t it. I watched you look for his eyes

across the water, because when you see strangers seeing you, you want to wave.

You want to hold him there with you, but while finding his eyes you missed how his arms

arched toward each other, over his head, a wobbling circle,

as if embracing himself or the air. This wasn’t it either.

It was the moment of imbalance: you continuing ahead

in silence while I paused, and saw our man emerge

from the shade: two Canadian geese arching their obsidian

necks away from each other, fighting over something

solid floating out with the tide.

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