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Same Summer in a Different Year


And to our ear, the words sale
And sail are pronounced the same,
And this is the same boat we rented
Before, before the first window
Opened on the old house, before
The glass was forever scratched,
Before its latch broke off in our
Hands, and it, like some thought,
Would never shut again. Try
Putting patience in an empty
Bucket, or try to wear forever
The death scarf taken as a souvenir
From someone whose last thoughts
Were of starving of something,
Or simply staring at the curtain
In the breeze, the open window,
The world outside of us,
The ensemble of late, great sounds,
The upupa's wobbly flight into
The flowering acacias, all flair and
All plume, or the spoon's sound
In the empty bowl, crutched in
Its limitless clinking. The second
Thought has to always follow
The first, frisked and shamed and
Absolutely hiding nothing as
Original as change, the faint bloom
Of those we were sure had died,
We had been to see them off to
Their own deaths, more of the same,
The same ground holding a different
Body, shovel slashing earth, a mound
The rain eventually flattens, like
Flatter, like a false friend. But let's
Think the worst, that we didn't
Change planes, that the garden
Didn't like being a garden any
Longer but had no way of telling
Us that, and there's Mahmoud
Darwish, dead and done for, four
Commemorative stamps on a letter
Still on a desk, that we're thinking
Will someone at least please send
It!
Let it travel in someone's pouch
To some other part of the world,
The opposite of world, where we
Wander like postulants, reading
The same word again and again.
It's the again we want to gainsay
But can't, turning off the flashlight
And thinking again we can see,
If we really want to, in the dark,
Seeing something sempiternal,
Lacking sameness, a pair of shoes
Washed up by a wave, our size,
But where would we walk in
Them, where would they take
Us that we really wanted to go,
Stepping over a stream, we who
Once read all that the wind wrote,
Water boiling in a clay pot and
Summer heat, the heart having
Failed we can't bring ourselves to
Write about, the long absence
Of death, and then death, like
A clean cloth on the window,
Wet hands wringing out the scene.
 

Awakening of all things, spiral failure (to deceive); lebensraum, life space (taking Poland); spinal; the new and the more of the same; the same boat we rented before; the words sale and sail are pronounced the same; lack of same, simultaneous, ensemble, assemble; sempre, sempiternal; anacoluthon, abrupt change in syntax in a sentence; semplice, hamadryad, same summer in a different year; sand blind, semi-blind, sentient, changeover, clang, clang; changed the yard into a garden, a light that changes color; change planes; after Mahmoud Darwish's death: four commemorative postage stamps

Edward Mayes

Colorado Review

Summer 2013


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