Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Impressions




Impressions of you
are engraved upon me.
I don’t know when it happened:
that a certain way you laugh
became like oxygen when I was gasping
for breath.
Your laugh became my life.
When you cry and become small
and crawl into me for comfort;
I can no longer live without that.
Every day some other tiny part of you
takes residence in my soul;
little by little you have moved in.
I invited you to come here
but I did not know what I was doing.
The best parts of me, the parts
I seldom have the sense to visit,
met and agreed
you should be here.
“We’ll tell him later,”
they concurred,
pointing at the hapless man who slipped and stumbled
amid the twisted debris of his life.
“We’ll let him know when he most needs to know.
For now it’s enough that she’s there,
that she won’t go away no matter what a fool he is.”
Now I know.  They told me.  Or I heard them.
Or something changed and I knew.
There are things you do with your voice
that are like keys that unlock boxes
that contain gifts I have always wanted.
There are ways you smell
that remind me of the best days of my childhood.
There are things you make with your hands
that I watch like a happy captive.
There are ways you mispronounce words
that make little dances erupt in my stomach.
Oh, lovely one, how can you doubt yourself,
when it is the very things you doubt
that I most cherish?  It is your mistakes
that tickle me,
it is your funny odors that have seeped into me
until I can no longer tell
whose sweat I am smelling.
It is your hair that refuses to harm me,
though it could turn lethal at any moment.
Impressions of you are engraved upon me
so much, that when you are not here,
I must write a poem
to bring you home.