Time

Time and I have at best an uneasy truce
Even in a single day I can seldom keep straight
A sequence of before and after
Which is strange because my mind always wants to know the next instruction
Before the one before it is begun

When I think back to that afternoon when we sat on the blanket in the yard
There was a guitar, I think — It was 1967 and warm
Why do I remember this day? What happened that made that day stand out?
Susan was there and so was Frank - we laughed
Maybe someone took a photograph

That happens sometimes
You see the photo and remember it
Your mind remembers the picture and fills in around it
Without anything else memorable — how odd

Carol's friend Rachel
I recall the smell of her long hair and the feel of it against my face
What a singular epitaph for someone
In my faulty, fractured memory
Looking back almost 40 years

Gerb told me a story once
He seldom talked more than a dozen words together
But he made an exception for me on occasion
He spoke in slow and thoughtful tones of his sister
Who died after the Great War of the influenza, like so many of her friends
They drove down from the town past a lake, past a long, slow freight train
He couldn't ever remember her looking lovelier in the setting sun till the horse went lame
"Gawd I miss her" he said, with teary, shining eyes

When he told me this, she'd been dead fifty years
That horse went lame thirty years before that

I can't remember what happened last week, what will I remember
Eighty years on?
People live lives so short,
So full and so abruptly ended
Time and I have at best an uneasy truce

2010

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