Souvenir

(for April Rhodes-James)

Turning the page
to read the second poem
in a book memorializing love
and death, I noticed a hair
sticking out of the book
a few pages farther in.

Supposing it a wayward one
of my own somehow deposited
in the book, I plucked it
absently from between the pages.

It was not mine and you were
the only other who read these poems
in the last few days we’ve shared
the book and my house, dear guest.

I came across you weeping as you read.
Now you’re gone I have one long hair
from your head of auburn fire
to remember you as I read of love

and death. How can I forget
in the same breath that margarita
with amaretto we drank together,
laughing our lives silly in Morrison,
Colorado, two summers ago?

Your hair oh god your hair on fire,
and me burning . . .

 

Note: I felt it advisable not to mention the name of the book in the poem. However, for those interested it was Paul Monette’s “Love Alone – 18 Elegies for Rog” (who died of AIDS in 1986). I felt that to identify the book would weight the poem too much toward that one fact and thus deflect the poem’s theme.

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