I took yesterday and pressed it between the pages of my unabridged dictionary. The day began at sunrise and ended just before it became a supplicant, though to what, was not at all apparent. Days can be frustrating when they refuse to allow sufficient margins. I always thought Thursday’s among the best behaved, or at least the most compliant but that’s no longer so. The promise they used to hold out is evanescent now. It doesn’t really matter anyway for when I went to get it today to place it in my book of days, of course it was gone. I won’t look for it, yet one day it will, like so many others turn up amid the page barely preceding histrionics.
Years later on, having walked
calmly away from my former faith,
I am left still pondering
where you find the words
to describe, to teach the unspeakable,
and how you use them to reach
children who have no right to know
the unspeakable, but who must,
lest they later speak it.
It was a generation ago for me, two
for them, three now for my own
grandchildren but the losses
they know are staggering: Las Vegas,
9/11, Manchester, Sandy Hook,
and on and on and on and on
and how do you help them grasp
the number six million, 10 million, when
they have but ten fingers,
shielding their eyes from the horror.
He asked her what she did, and
the question surprised her. Most
didn’t ask that until much later on,
but she replied, “I am a historian.”
He said, “Isn’t that an odd profession,”
quickly adding, “and I don’t mean for a woman.”
“It is,” she smiled, “but I fell in love
with history as a young girl,
and I’ve been fortunate to watch
stars being born and die, galaxies appear
as if from nowhere, seen events
that happened before our own sun was born.”
She could see he was confused, perhaps
that he thought her mad as others had.
She calmly added, “You understand,
I am an astronomer and all I see
is the history of our universe.”
She said, “As we get older
we start to come from the place
we only wished we were from,
and the place from which we came,
becomes the place from which
we are now glad we never visited.”
He said, “As I age, my youth changes,
and the things I say I did are increasingly,
the things I wish I had done,
and what I did and wish I hadn’t
are things that now never happened.”
She smiled, “it’s hard to believe
that now we never met in that one place
neither of us says we have been,
and yet here we are
in the midst of our created history.”
If you stare at it long enough
it is certain to become familiar,
as though you have seen the very thing
in the very place and time before.
You know this is not possible, but
it allows you to conceive of the future,
even though that cannot exist, any more
than the past can now exist, and if it
once did, was it as you remember it?
The mind is ponderous, and grows more so
when it tries to grasp what does not exist,
and in the accretion, it subtly
curves space-time around it,
so that what is real and what is not
cannot be distinguished, and if
you stare forward long enough, you will
likely stare into the back of your head.
None of us can remember
what was here before.
We can search for clues,
develop elaborate surmises
and find telling relics
from which we can conclude
this or that, with a certitude
the gods would surely mock.
But our field of vision
is restricted, our memories
equally so, and we are left
with one certainty, supposition.
And that will be true
at least until the moment
we realize that we too are
antediluvian and we hear the sound
of the approaching flood.
The difference between
before and after
is the moment we
can never seem to grasp.
In the time it takes
to read the definition
of evanescence, its meaning
is lost to history.
is the failure of thought
and logic, for the process
is so overwhelming
what we process is turned
to dust in a windstorm
of the mind’s desire.