Wednesday, March 26, 2008

For Molly, by Carl Dennis

For him to remember what he was
Back in the days he knew the truth
You knew, loved what you loved,
Would be to bear on his back a grief
Too massive for the narrow door of his house
On the quiet side street, where his one wish
Is to sleep through the night unvisited.
So your face is airbrushed from the photograph,
Your name erased from the history book
Of his little country, the thoughts
That could testify on your side
Banished to a cold Siberian wilderness
To die unmourned for, with no witnesses.
You are the only archive now of a state too small
For any stranger to care how it once was ruled
In the old days, under the old king.

May a town that loves the truth
Be yours one day and invite your chronicling.
May you love the honest talk of the town square
And the gentle way the shoppers push through the aisles
With their shopping carts and exit to the lots.
The school bus stops at the crosswalk in the dark,
Its lights flashing, and the children climb aboard.
Your life will serve them as a guide and, later,
When they travel and can make comparisons,
They'll understand how rare their luck was.

But if no town receives you and you lose heart
And fall away from the woman you once were,
You won't pretend that she never lived, as he does.
You'll be sad to think how far you've come
From the customs of her country.
You'll be happy you can still remember her.

No comments: