I’m trying to forget your face just now,
smoke curling like a flutter of fallen leaves
down in the backyards of the breath I’m holding.
The bowlful of bonfire still shakes off hot embers
and today becomes my cupful of drink from Lethe,
my retreat from what so easily comes to mind.
Names are often hard for me to hold,
even when my days are sharpest and brightest,
though somehow yours will be with me a long while.
But I’ve stopped opening the photographs,
leaves of memories closed like shuttered pages,
and so become deprived of colorful reminders.
The picture frames are flat on their faces,
recently turned down like unechoed affection.
The ritual of lighter then gradual deep drag
returns and repeats as needed to flush all fidelity.
And now, just now, I seem to be unable to draw
the sight of you in my ghost town recollection,
not the soiltints of your hair, the texture of your beard,
nor the still unbearable greening of your eyes.
About the Poem
This poem is about coping with lost love, especially since there was much to celebrate in the ended romance that inspired these words. But a brief bit of stupor manages for a time to obscure the details of memories that are painful to hold.
The title, the French word for "second", carries a double meaning. This was the second time I've lost someone I cared about this much. The second meaning speaks to the difficulty of not coming out of a break up feeling second best.
This poem is previously unpublished in print. This poem was finished November 27, 2008.