Only the Bones (26 June)

Against the slow afternoon currents
a grey-white tangle of dust performs

its stop-motion magic dance
ruled by some unseen hands

who might lend their voice and ways
to soft unspeaking trees and days.

But after all and dusk relaxes
and night becomes more like itself

a tired and empty platter,
an assortment of discarded tastes from

some well-intended feast –
detritus and dregs,

skeleton crew of memory –
only the bones remain in place.

How true untrue, in its way:
we, laughing at some phantom circus,

inhaling near the river bank with tourist’s taste,
a smack, a stare, the view from the bridge

far above: too many and too much of
these unlatched, momentary sights

and sighs that we call flesh
or marrow, believing them so fresh

like salt and spice,
their grit alive against your tongue

these petty, dazzling tyrants,
shapes misremembered or more, invented

of all our swirling yesterdays.

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