Wednesday, November 7, 2007


for Richard
Do not look at me again like that: between us
is too stripped down to the bare wire of what we were.

The look, umbilical—that cord I thought discarded
in some hospital bin fifty years ago come November.

How strange to find it once more between us,
still beating and so palpable we could

cross over and enter into each other
again, seeing our old selves through new, first eyes.

Plucked from a drumroll of autumns, that one
was ours—autumn of my twenty-third year, autumn

of your final fattening, taking up all the room,
worrying the thinning walls. The rope that seethed

from me to you and back again—our two-
way street—and you, little fish, hanging on

past your lease in a time of narrowing dark,
which you can't possibly remember, but do.

And it comes to me: that look must be what love is,
which is why we'll not speak of it nor hunt it down

in each other's eyes again, for you're too worldly
to admit, without wincing, what happened happened.

And I, too conscious of my failed attempts
to fire into language what's beyond words, could not

bear it. Which leaves me holding the bag once more
of foolish thoughts. I know, I know, the universe

has neither edge nor center nor crown, but I want
to think that past Andromeda and out beyond

a million swirling disks of unnamed stars, that cord
we knew, that ghost of an eye-beam floating between us,

arcs in space, lit up like the George Washington Bridge
pulsing with traffic, even after both stanchions are gone.

~Alice Friman

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