I try to memorize him
with the soft pads of my fingertips.
Closing my eyes
and slowly tracing
the cheekbone’s rise and gleam
the moist, fragile skin around the eye
square, angled, tight
roughened by the day’s relentless growth.
I will my heart into my fingertips
and move them through the soft curling
hair on the broad chest
rising and falling
rising and falling over the heart.
My hand moves down the hard belly
And I find
I cannot remember,
in every detail,
the line of his face
I touched only a moment ago.
It has already begun to fade.
And I had wanted to hold it forever.
He strokes my arm
runs his broad fingers
down the naked curve of my back
over the smoothness of my thigh
draped across him.
Is he trying to memorize me also?
We cannot hang on to this moment
Even knowing it is the last moment.
Life pulls us
like a great tidal wave
sweeping us forward
dragging us into the perpetual present.
Our memories of this moment
will change and be shaped
by new desires and disappointments.
And I will forget I knew even this.
Selection from DREAMS OF DESIRE (Mountain Dreaming, 1995, out of print).
Painting: “My Love II” by Willem Haenraets, original artwork.