It’s the last day, all the pieces away,
the board packed up, damp paperbacks adrift
in time, on shores, pages stuck together
like wonton wrappers, floured fingers pry
each paper-thin layer loose, like a scab
pulled from the ages, the times when
summers’ lights warmed barefoot girls
dancing ska, dark rums and tabla
keeping beats that only seers felt.

Tornadoes the size of fists grabbed at us,
sprites from nowhere, pixies to beguile
even the most steadfast non-believer
among us, temporary lapses in sanity,
slow to vanish like the aftermath
of bright flashes, instamatic power cubes
before digital, when low light meant
wide open apertures and long shutter speeds,
avoided shudders that would disrupt the flow
of light to film three hearts on the mend.

I rest my chin in my hands, coy there prone
along the footlights, casting a large shadow
on the back wall, a Chinese lantern,
a lava lamp, a strobe, dancing shoes
hanging on a peg, on the wall above your bedside,
powder blue silk ballerina, how you’d slide,
glide on dust, on chalky planks,
spin, and toe, and hold, arabesque.

A kiss in total darkness, where the self is all,
on a flat plain, lower than the highest peak,
arching and craning our necks to the sky,
modest in majesty, purple prose and monotone
gypsies sing in distant choirs,
reverberate in the canyons around us,
while spectral howls rise high above the timberline,
and each drop is sheer, straight to the point.

This is the moment we talked about,
before the re-entry, after the last time,
promising one another to remember the other,
there was no way we wouldn’t once beholden,
but that was then, before the inevitable
disappearing frame, where it’s harder to find
perspective, unlike the clarity we hold
in the interim, at the way-station between beads
we pluck from the string across the canopy.

© Carlos Chagall, 2013/2019