purging of some things. Abandoning
some dust to the corners of what would
be from now on a guest room.
You handed me a stack of wire bound
notebooks. So old that my handwriting was
like a foreign language. So old I
couldn’t remember the name of the adolescent
I devoted forty pages to. So old
that I signed each page with a
different pseudonym. So many things
given up and placed in the bottom
of that drawer.
I reflected that each had
been a new born blank slate. A white
potential waiting. And then with each
long dreary day at school
they filled up with doodles
and fragments and pieces
of poems and reflections.
Each entry staining the leaf
the way a cancer stains an
organ, the way gravel stains
snow. Until every possibility
was used and every idea
I held one close to my face
as if checking for a pulse.
Then I burned them in the fireplace
reflecting how my mind burned
when I wrote.
Each ash had a fragment of my scrawl.
“Truth” “rain” “lov” “hea,” atoms
broken down to solitary protons and
electrons. A man divided into cells.
Attempts at truth should
be buried at sea.
Originally published in The Portable Wall, 1994, Issue No. 23