I’ve been alive for a little while--
You for longer, ambling on cobblestones and
gravel paths that coat your feet with cinders.
You wondered: when will walking feel like home
when Sun has circumscribed its name
around your shape so many times, and you
have circumvented hers when once you spoke
it hopefully, linked its sounds with yours.
It’s felt like forever but you never said forever
until forever felt like someplace you might be.
Those syllables aren’t strange, though I wonder
how we know that they are true: for-ev-er,
the length of time our human brains can chew
but not digest, bubble gum swallowed in second grade.
Someone told you it would stay there all your days,
and how are we to know any different? I picture you in ashes,
though you said you’d rather slip whole into the sea
as you are, or be buried without a wooden box.
I asked if I could hire someone to hoist you
overboard, someone to dig the grave.
You picture me in a black dress—not because it’s
tradition, because you simply know.
And though it’s only mind-forever, it feels like longer
if my burned-up body gets to mix with yours like
our living limbs intertwined in evening and at dawn.
I suppose it could be ghosts or God, whispering
Water and bloom, water and bloom,
and the hissing makes us sure our feet will step
in step until forever makes phantoms
of these early days of love.