White-knuckled in the spare room, amber lights burnish spindrift currents across the rimples of timeworn books. Like old bark in your hands, you shelve them against torsional creases in your palms, patterned in sharp tectonics; lengthening lines in abbreviated years.
Over the treads of its gossamer ridge lie records and mazes mapped into thin vellum. A life in its becoming. An archive sketched into being, dimensional and drifting. Off-white walls, sheer like deep glens; kingfishers in the marsh, grassweeds in their shaver bills that drip into gentle eddies in the aging green wetland. Open wide and rest.
The bed sits rigid against your lithic spine. Shims of white light peer beneath the heavy door as the volumes burst ripe and violent, churning in the dim. In or belonging to the past: the rumple of a plastic bag in your hands as you jump from an oak tree. Vermicular frogs in a mildewed catchbasin. Tracing with the tip of your fingernail the tenuous sinews of her forearm. Moving to a lightless city for reasons you don't understand. The age you realize your mom was a sentry through nights of adolescence and your dad had good taste in music all along. You divorce your old self on your wedding day and write him into a story.
A window opens into fractured twilight, where mortar and herringbone meet winnowed oatgrass in the foothills. The air tastes like salt and soft leather. Above, serrated geometry shifts into sinuous molds, and in the sky your most recent past drips like thick paint along the reclining horizon; mottled cartography laced into blooming sundown. Time is passed down like a sigil proudly worn. Look back to a place where you lived absolutely and loved steadily to know where you no longer belong.
The midsummer noon sun
On the white closet door
Through Venetian blinds, threadbare
Hung over cracked windows
The place I once called home
A shell of its old self
But the map that still hangs here
With pinned thumb tacks for each trip
Is an archive of loved years
Good memories in death’s grip
The serpent eats its own tail:
The cycle repeats
The chorus refrains
But the verses change
Just enough for it to be worth it