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A simple, impossible thing

A memory that breaks my fall: the winter night we climbed
the mountain tower, and Maggie, in her scarf that matched
her lipstick, in her nimblest sneakers, hoisted her blithe
body onto a parapet, so naturally I thought why-not, began
my own uppity fumble–yes, but you agreed with gravity. You
held my shoulders, laughed and said oh no you don’t.

You who cage such raucous grace beneath your ribs that even
its muted, chastened flutter flies me back to the once-upon
world of my babies. Rolling together in the bay-window room,
one saggy end of baggy bed to other, goofy giggly, basking
in the sun’s noblesse oblige approval of our basking
in the sun. You make me ache (but sweetly—how??) for my two
girls. As they did, once (those days cut short by random
knife), you invite me, for a visit, back to Eden.

A sentence from the book they’ll write of us someday:
“From opposite sides of the crowded room, they sent each
other smiles of warm encouragement.” Note the cool
authority, dear one: third-person, omniscient. I too will bear
mere witness then. I’ll delegate our story to the crone
I’ve only glimpsed so far: the all-aware third-
woman solving crosswords near the mirror-hall exit. If only
I could catch her now, could pilfer her quintessence
prematurely… It’s a maze, you (don’t) know: this
fissure lit only by cavewoman’s torch. This life
of the unreliable narrator. (Long-standing English-major
wish: I’m Huckleberry Finn, and wise beyond my knowing.)

You might, moreover, note (or not) how I grow tired—or, no,
how I long to grow tired—of picking at the threads
of vagaries–my half-concocted memories and clues. Not just
the strands that lead toward you, my love (though you’ve
reason to think they all lead there), but others too,
spreading like jellyfish tendrils (let’s say) across
mandalic seas. How deep-down, how finally I want to have
already said all I’m still so dumbly bent on saying.
Then, afterward, to fall into that haven uncannily
coincident with the hollow between your chest
and collarbone, that nest we built from twigs and wine
one summer night, and have never yet flown far from. Forever
I rest there in times of near-asleep and near-awake. Forever
you’re my respite from that double-edged hope: to lose
all need to talk or write, or to trip across the miracle
of telling all, just once, and plainly, and then to let it
let me let it go, absolved at last of everything but love.