The day arrives at the usual hour, eyes bright and hands empty. You retreat to that reserve best left to poems and dreams. As if you could throw away your shadow with your back pressed tight against the dawn. As if you could remove all the stitches and walk away new and clean. All the miles travelled, and you are still fresh and clean. All the wounds gathered, and you are still beautiful and unbowed. They call and claim, but never own you. I relive and remember, but I can never get the picture right.
Me, I am the same old puzzle in the scuffed box, missing pieces. Me, I am the same old candle burning out. My head is a failed circus, all clowns and animals and high-wire acts. My heart is the scorched earth of some dull apocalypse, all smolder and blackened bones. Once there was a war inside, but the war is long over. Now it is all veteran's clubs and weary stories of hope and futility, smoke still clinging to the barware, cigarettes never really going out. Wreck and ruin and the same old tunes. Loving Cup for Don't Sit Under the Apple Tree, Downtown Train for the White Cliffs of Dover. Even the nostalgia doesn't work, this husk so haunted, this day so long.
The sky is blue, the day is mild. Warm even for a California winter, the calendar doesn't know what to do with itself. The dogs roll on, all fits and starts, absorbing the sunlight, lolling in the dust. The cat walks the fence, watching for birds too foolish or brave to keep their distance. Time crawls on, insistent and resolute in its habits. All the lights are waiting for that one switch, that one allotment of momentum, that final direction off or on. You wander the far away limits, always aware, always listening. Always so near, reminding me of your absence. Always so close, reminding me of all that loss.