Thursday, December 31, 2009

A count down and a kiss

You get to the bridge just in time to see that it is burning. All flames and fumes, the startling tactile fizzling of an inferno of steel, blazing bright above the callow mirror of a winter sea. You know at that moment, the heat and hubbub all the sibyl needed, you are never going back. The calendar is spent, so much for candles flickering with secret wishes, so much for chores put off without faith or regret. Everything that is done gets done today, or it gets lost beside you in that relentless tide of tomorrow. The last year only can last so long.

So quickly you sort through the memos and the margins. The well wishes sent you in rose colored envelopes, the smoke you spent in want of virtue. The one you got and the one you wanted, now all but forgotten, mingling in the burn of re-entry and the tell-tale vapor trail. The bookends of dusk and dawn, the faltering signet star, the day creased with the entreaties of some fabled rebel angel. From frost to swelter, to the gray leavened plains of the autumnal pause, the finger laden scale of spring always behind your eyes. If only you had the means to measure. If only you had saved something bright.

What happened to all that we waited for? All the changes and completions, all the finales and curtain calls and triumphant returns? The firmament spun by above us, changing little but the drapes, all the cluttered constellations maintaining a safe distance, all the asteroid collisions near misses for decades foreseen. We drank our coffee, scribbled at answers. We walked slow paths and short streets and to that one place we always liked. The clattering of cutlery, the rustled trust of a morning paper. All is lost, save the vague resolve that time begins its count again. A count down and a kiss, and who knows what way this one will turn. The ache settles again in well worn eyes, the world again plays innocent. We toast our varied fortunes, so famous and so scorned.

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