The last time I saw your face, I couldn’t see it all. It wasn’t that you were in profile, or lowered your chin in sadness, though sadness stalks your eyes too often, just waiting there for a sag of your shoulder to pounce. No, the last time I saw your face we wore masks for Christmas, perhaps to see New the Year, perhaps to see one another again at all. But I know the last time I saw your face, your eyes told me a smile was crossing its Tropic of Capricorn, since I’d come back safe from my own Tropic of Cancer. And I held your face close, its Equator to mine, our cheeks at anchor for a long moment, because what if this really was to be the last time I saw your face?
I know it’s never been a race, but I only know what it’s not. You’ve already passed me by twice; don’t know how many more laps I’ve got. I’ve given up trying to catch up as we’ve always run round and round. Our strides so evenly match up, but yours are swift, while mine pound. As along I plodded, I’ve pondered all the laps we could have shared, if out of my lane I wandered, if only I’d sped up and dared. I’m nearing the end of my run, and I just can’t catch up to you. Since we don’t know when we’ll be done, here is what I thought we could do. I’ll never get back my old zest, catching up I won’t even try. So I’ll wait here and rest and jump back in as you go by. And as I did, you turned and said, “Thanks for waiting ‘til I caught you.” Seems I was the one laps ahead, now we'll finish as we ought to. I think it’s seamlessly ironic, knowing how I get bogged down in my real life and the hundreds of lives banging around in my head, that I’m a day late in finishing this poem. The prompt was to write a “Catch up” poem. Indeed.
I think it might be lavender mixed with a little lemon zest. The memory of how you smell still lingers in me. Who’d have guessed? Perhaps you. Certainly not I, my memories now are hidden. I think I lost them in the dust of the desert years I’ve ridden. All by myself, but not alone, Imagination rode there, too. A third shadow sometimes appeared, so suspiciously shaped like you. When it cast itself on the sand the desert would begin to bloom. Instead of the dust and dried sage, the air was filled with your perfume. At least that’s what I could recall as each sundown you rode away. Even sleep would leave me alone all night as I daydreamed you’d stay. Now I’m old, and rely upon your grace for any second chance to leave loneliness just once more, and between us its vast expanse. That’s all I ask, just to get close, close enough to finally see if lavender and lemon were what you wore, or hopeful fantasy. Since I’m a day behind, I combined two prompts today -- a second chance poem and one using the sense of smell.
Whenever I think back to those simple times, when life was just a run from one sunup to the next sundown or so, I try to recall whatever joy attends those memories. I remember pain, hurt, aching embarrassment, fear, scars aborning, loneliness, longing and mourning. And I’m put in mind of the Inuit People, who supposedly have maybe fifty different words for the concept of Snow, whether it’s falling, used to make water, if it’s just lying there on the ground or if it’s the kind you sink into. I suppose I can come up with maybe fifty words for those days and they don’t mean Snow, but have a passing resemblance to No. But that’s all. Nothing like the Scots, who have more than 400 words for what falls and befalls them during their long dark wintertime. Compared to that, my view of my younger days show practically paradise. Maybe one of their light-snow flindrikins. I can at least see some sun through the flimsy of woe I let cast a haze over those days. Somewhere along the way, my life turned a feefle, swirling around a corner to where I can see another brighter sunup on the horizon. Poem for Day 1 of Poem-a-Day April 2022. An F-title poem. Oh, yes, my friend, I was so tempted...