There is no sum total of anything.
This world may or may not hold its course
and the house I lived in
is now in a distant country.
All expands, shifts, disappears, reappears
below or above where it was.
The path I used to walk every morning
(dew, rain, drifting leaves, snow)
has moved to a different memory,
and the path is now unfamiliar.
There is no end, no conclusion, no summation.
The narrative shifts into the footnotes
and the words in the footnotes
and become poems of the heart
written on leaves,
written within the whorls of fingertips,
and the shapes our bodies make.
I want to remember
an afternoon with you
reading bawdy and tender tales,
hidden in the secret room
of the willow tree
by the creek.
I put that in my mind,
as having happened,
a memory of something that will come
and as the sun flies over the afternoons
the hope will become memory.
Time passes this way,
and we drift with it.
We’ll write words on the pale willow leaves
and set them adrift.
(Rocks, sunken logs, mud will catch many as they go,
some will always drift).
There is no summary.
There will be no words
that could tell anyone
how it finally happened.
How we came there,
how the day felt,
though I will write languid on a leaf,
and cast it,
and though I will write yielding on a leaf,
and cast it.
I am putting that part after this part:
This part, where I tell you
that I see how you have been standing
for a long night at the closed door.
How you have the golden key in your hand
(did you realize),
how you have been looking up, between the dark
outline of trees at night,
waiting for the stars to form the right shapes.
(I tell you, they never will, the time is now.)
I see that you have forgotten how you got here,
as I have forgotten my path,
standing at my own arched door
(there are roses, and late summer sun).
I discover a key in my hand as well,
golden, like yours.
We walk through separately,
I through roses, you through starlight,
and join on the path,
pausing to trail our fingers in the water,
to catch the leaves of words
we had written and cast,
for that place has moved to this place,
where we are now,
approaching the willow tree,
with the book of tales waiting
below the long branches.