no / Really gone

(poem written with a found pencil:)


That small perfect photograph of him
From before disaster slow-motion struck
And took him away leaving
His aimless eyes behind
From before his mind began to turn in on itself
Not even turning from fear or indecision but horribly
Turning and turning again because he’d simply forgotten
Which direction it was going before that moment
From before death went to work on him
The way a child with a big cheerful pink school eraser
Goes to work rubbing out words written on damp paper
It’s gone

It was in this locket
I’d swear
If not for this evidence
The empty thing

Fool that I am I thought
I could reach out
Find a bit of stone-smooth happiness
Shore up the present with the past
Then I found it I opened it I looked inside it and it’s
Contents gone like a magician’s borrowed coin I thought at first
But no

Really gone
Gone like a child’s prank of pulling away
The chair just before
You sit


This poem was written with a pencil I found on the sidewalk this morning. The writing core had snapped off below the margin of the wood casing, but the casing was frayed, and soft from lying in the rain, and it peeled away easily.

Image: An old locket by Flickr user mayka, published under a Creative Commons  Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0) license.

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