I’m going to sit right here in this café
and stare out the dirty window,
make a list of things I’ll never touch.
Caddisflies swarming the shores of Baikal.
Burmese jewels in the eyes of a reclining
buddha. Soap-stained soup spoon
under my hovering hand. Ceramic bowl
on a quilted placemat. Bread crumbs
from a mustache. Balled hankie on the table.
Things that make us endless.
Canvas bag stashed in the closet. In it, a ring
of keys that sound like wind chimes. A faded photo–
A woman leans over the rail of the Golden Gate.
Ship’s smoke, low fog. The black and white grip
of her hands, soft bend in her neck. Also,
a change of clothes, a tarnished music box
holding a plastic ballerina, bent and discolored.
I’ve had enough.
In New York, a comb that stole hair
after chemo. A greasy dent
the shape of a bowling ball in the recliner.
Details left behind to remind me of the pain.
Flat stones along the Erie Canal. Skipped across
to sink into rib cages of drowned cows. A child’s
legend, a scum-jumper’s lament. And the truck’s
bench seat sticky with fish blood
and stray scales. Stars in shapes of teapots
and saucers. A hole through time.
Those whose names slipped, and are slipping
away. Nothing will be the same as it once was.
I want to confess everything to stalled
traffic. I take my coffee with a dash of milk,
make it look like soft caramel. If you want,
grab a seat. This could take a while.