The title of this post has little or nothing to do with the upcoming poem, but I rather like the song by America. Seelenluft also did a nice cover of it in 2007, if you're into electronica. I am, apparently.
When was it that you realized
that all you could remember of a person
were the places you'd been together, the smell of the air, the cotton scraping of jeans?
When did you begin drawing pictures of those moments that had so little to do
with the yellow angles of streetlamp shadows,
the indifferent cool of a concrete ledge in summer dusk,
the fluttering black silhouette
of a balloon sailing into the stratosphere,
And everything to do with the light pressure of cold fingers,
the words that played languidly in the space between you?
The memory of the soul is frail, wispy-thin
as a sunlight kiss to glass.
So you speak
of scratchy plaid sofas and harsh linoleum light
and lucid melodies tumbling from the piano.
– Of these you must sing, for when that cherished figure sails away
you are left with only the things you can know,
which are the things that remain,
which are the sighings of spruce branches,
the chilly scent of midnight,
the moonglass glint of gravel beneath tired feet.
One day you realized that these things could not escape you,
that you could grasp them and gather them and hold them in place,
and when you did, they formed the negative space
around the silhouette of his soul.