Tonight I found it, inside
a book you'd left behind. Pressed
leaf, butterfly, the photo fluttered out
between the covers to the floor.
I didn't look at it at first. I couldn't.
And now, too late, I find myself taken
with a sudden desperation and afraid,
afraid of the night, the cold, afraid
of something I am not yet sure of,
that seeing your face again I should remember
much more than just the color of your eyes,
afraid I should remember
the way you smiled, or talked,
or how the sun shone on your hair
that day we walked alone, out on the strand,
and you asked me what I was thinking.
I loved you. That was all.
And yet - and yet -
I remember a time you said you'd hated me
like nothing else. I had no right
to ask, you said, no right at all.
Your hands clenched at your sides.
You turned your face away.
And when later in the afternoon
I found you in the garden,
watering the azaleas,
your hands were still shaking,
and you wouldn't let me
see your eyes.
I called you twice,
from the kitchen door, before you came.
And when you answered, I grabbed you
and held you tight, face buried in your hair,
not knowing what to say except your name,
over and over until I believed
nothing else could ever exist in this world
Now, too late,
I remember walking your parents home,
that August night. I remember
your father talking of how quickly
the leaves had changed.
We said good-bye at the lamp by the gate.
I remember turning to look back
from the other sidewalk,
how they too had turned
And how suddenly there was nothing,
nothing at all,