Erosion: a poem

We realized lapidary prose was not enough
to preserve our childhoods. Holding hands
and stepping across, we photographed the bridge,
which later we would recognize as only stones,
only cold. Each angle became irrelevant,
incapable of concealing what had been from
what actually was. It hit us hard, the wind
that days later would close the windows of summer,
that had the power to separate us forever.

We knew no camera or pen could recapture
each other’s laughter, the comfort of silence,
the way bare feet could so solidly trust
such slippery instability. Still, we wrote
it all down, the same way we carved our initials
into tree trunks, to remind us our names
were ours, to remind us of who we were and of
the places we had been, though we knew
time and distance would change everything.

We promised not to let our memories become
those tiny white seeds children blow from
the stems of dandelions. We did not yet realize
our wishes would become weeds, that they would multiply
and replant themselves and flourish by the future
summer. We did not yet know the strength
of stone, nor the power of transformation.
We never imagined that the process of erosion could be
as beautiful as water rushing between our toes.

Originally published August 26, 1994

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