EULOGY FOR THE QUICK
and only partly caught. Not memories,
but traces of her flurried passing by my temple—glances
of skin, arcane scraps of fabric and scent, talk in heady snatches:
for these I am gathered here today,
mourning in anticipation. Hours ago and already
I can't keep straight whether hair sang red, or dress, or whether,
yes—neither—only my ears in the blood-rush.
And the perfume, it wasn't hers. That magnolia tree's
losing blossoms all over the sidewalk, every little fall loosing,
like a snuffed wick, a scent of expiration.
Maybe if I ran back down there now, some trigger, a sniff
of a shaft of light still dusted with her—but no, I must accept,
as the open ear accepts an unexpected whisper, she
is but a composite, best remembered by the one clipped
string I caught as she spoke into her tiny cell: late, gotta go, yes, I'll call,