by Robert Long

Cleaning the house I find your picture
Buried in piles of correspondence
Written by an unrevised version of myself. Outside,
Robins are doing neck rolls in a gnarled banyan.

In the photo, your hands are clasped
And you're smiling hard. It's graduation day
And you're stuffed into uncharacteristic formality.
What did the photographer say to make you smile so?

Outside, a kid with a backpack snarls by on a moped;
The cat slumps in and revolves a point on the rug
Before losing his head in his own coiled body.
A light odor of cut grass drifts into the room.

The sun's blond disc clicks down the northwestern sky.
Where you are now I can't say, but your photo,
Reflecting the warmth of June light,
Turns something back inside me,

And I can feel myself falling out of the day
Into a more complex time, when you walked up this road
As blackbirds settled in the trees
Over fragments of far-off conversation,

And someone's brief, light laughter interrupted
The stillness. The little dock lights down the hill
Came on, as I heard your step on the grass
And went to the door expectant, knowing what made my future,

But not what would become of me.

Other Selected Poems from Blue:

Excellent Coffee Shop
Tie City
Terminal Cafe