Memory in Motion

She could not be escaped
that day, soon to be joined
in her bed of earth and ash,
there, perched above
as we walked, or rode, encircled
by the carriage’s hooved melody.

There was no gauzy mist
for her, as there is today,
no clouds, even, pinned to the spring sky.
Only dogwood blooms, like tiny moons
showering scattered light
across shadowed squares of grass.

Her smile, the subtle appetizer
of a throaty, coarse laugh—
long gone. Only the tremble
of fingers, hers now mine,
as we walked on.

And when we sat to look upon
that gold box carried
in a soldier’s steady grip,
Hers reached out—
holding what once was
her husband, my friend:
that small container,
confining the uncontainable,
so solid, so frail, as collapsible
as air—

knotted hands that
shined like opals each time
she smoothed the hair
from her face,
reading, chin tucked, brow
crumpled and worn; eyes
like stones shimmering
at a shallow stream bed,
mossy green casting
greys and browns into the inexorable
water tumbling by.

And now him.

Yes, her step, also, was like mine;
the curve of my jaw, like his.
Parts of me, alone together,
twin blood feeding my bones;
a memory in motion, desire
freed and captured. Dreamed,
then buried.

Until it’s time,
and I traverse the currents
of headstones,
cold white lines
pointing toward home.

© Christine Thomas