⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀The voice through which I echo
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀the breath I know to be mine
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀inside our shared moment
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀decides word to word as though
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀reflecting an immortal design.
⠀⠀⠀⠀”Though nothing can bring back the hour,”
⠀⠀⠀⠀Denise’s recitation finally broke
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀into a cave where I’d hidden
⠀⠀⠀⠀away from an evening school class how’re
⠀⠀⠀⠀poems to be read. This other student spoke
⠀⠀⠀⠀those lines out like they were straight at me,
⠀⠀⠀⠀like we’d already time between us lost
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀beyond mere redemption.
⠀⠀⠀⠀She can’t possibly have known my history,
⠀⠀⠀⠀of how many such hours I’d long crossed
⠀⠀⠀⠀off, scratched out, ripped to shreds, burned
⠀⠀⠀⠀and buried. Why would I even want
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀those times reawakened
⠀⠀⠀⠀like zombies of my own nightmares returned
⠀⠀⠀⠀with no hunger in mind save but to haunt?
⠀⠀⠀⠀”There was a time,” she’d started her spiel
⠀⠀⠀⠀that lost hour of hers way back, it seemed,
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀after which only scattered
⠀⠀⠀⠀words had managed to break through. She’ll
⠀⠀⠀⠀bore us to death, the tyro in me screamed.
⠀⠀⠀⠀”Intimations of Immortality,” she’d said it was,
⠀⠀⠀⠀some ode about some dead dude’s childhood
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀in rhymed recollection
⠀⠀⠀⠀seemingly about as meaningful as a buzz
⠀⠀⠀⠀in my ear. Not what I thought of as a good
⠀⠀⠀⠀poem, in my opinion. She’d even memorized
⠀⠀⠀⠀the whole damn piece, hell if I knew what for.
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀Not one I’d’ve written
⠀⠀⠀⠀(which explains a lot, I’ve since realized).
⠀⠀⠀⠀Each time I thought it done, there was more
⠀⠀⠀⠀on and on and on and on. This poor little boy
⠀⠀⠀⠀will never make it out of his childhood’s past
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀into adolescent heaven,
⠀⠀⠀⠀I decided. How was I to learn how to enjoy
⠀⠀⠀⠀poetry from this? “Immortality” felt miscast.
⠀⠀⠀⠀Then that word – “Though” – broke through
⠀⠀⠀⠀my wall of ignorance. So simple a word
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀to have softened
⠀⠀⠀⠀my thick head! “Though.” Its line cut into
⠀⠀⠀⠀every poem I’d previously read or heard
⠀⠀⠀⠀all the way to all the poems I’ll ever write.
⠀⠀⠀⠀”Though,” not “Since” or merely blank
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀but as was chosen.
⠀⠀⠀⠀”Though,” recognizing it as meant in spite
⠀⠀⠀⠀of never being real. I have her to thank
⠀⠀⠀⠀for introducing me to how “Though” makes
⠀⠀⠀⠀sense whether or not it’s thought dead,
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀too good to happen.
⠀⠀⠀⠀Immortality? To me it takes
⠀⠀⠀⠀its strength in what remains ahead.
prompted by Fireblossom Friday: the book within the story within the poem
at the imaginary garden with real toads
recalling the poetry appreciation class when Denise read
Ode on Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood