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It doesn’t happen often
anymore, but sometimes
in the cherry fullness of this
life of tart and sweet, from
misty edges like a frontispiece
or monolith of stone demattered
stands the doorframe like a
looking glass that shone
you once to me.

A latch of clappered
bronze inside my throat
springs free, for is that not
your span of shoulders, curls
that fall around the ears I loved
to whisper in? Your smile invites
me like a softly creaking gate,
I pray, oh God, don’t let this
be the coming round again, not
yet, for I’ve a mighty joy at work
and playing with the likes of you
who in this perfect moment
cannot stay—I am allayed.

We followed all the passages,
two runaways, a captivate I was
to monsters you would conjure
from the steppes and plains
of torments that were yours,
they were not mine; your kisses
paved the way, I have to say,
to pillared vaults of mind
and treasuries that to
this day deliver me with
coruscating leaps to dragon
lairs I never would have dared
in lesser days to plunder
for their gold.

So do not think in quiet
moments when you catch
the trace of me caressing one
whose shoulders can uphold
these coming glories that I do
not sometimes yearn for you.

I hope you’ve learned by now
that time, it does not go, it only
comes, and that you trust as I do,
in the doorframe, for it will appear
again and I’ll step through—you’ll
see, I am the one who long ago
agreed to bind in leather, free of guilt
these folios, full content, with an index
happily unexpurgated of our lives.

© Elaine Stirling, 2013

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