TWO POEMS FOR NELSON TRENT HURRY (1963-2008)

(Published in The Antigonish Review, No. 85-86, 1991)

turn
(for nelson)


we       
       exist
in this divided state
where
         what will happen
overtakes
          what comes before
we fluctuate           hesitate
stare down long hallways
waiting to turn to stone
the pound of flesh extracted
penitence
         does not come quickly

I sit and watch
                    this being
                    this being
divided
like a suspended sentence
                 dangling
         midair
a blade              about
to drop

remember the time
we rode on the ferris wheel
watching the world
turn in our eyes
you discovered
on your arm
a spittle of vomit
from above
some child's sickness
heavy with      turning
worlds
changing places with sky
I wiped it off your arm
you said
'most kind of you'
didn't you think
         I would die
didn't you think
         I would die       laughing
in your arms
forever airborne
the two of us
even gravity
couldn't bring us down

I tell myself now
it is only a kind of
imprecision     in our lives
        an inexactness
that keeps us apart
these things          these turnings
          blades, wheels
                  half gestures
abandoning          hope
                  midair
losing                        touch
I keep waiting
                          the blade
           to drop


the one in the mirror
(for nelson)

                
it was never
my profile
lying askance      moonlight
starlit skin
gazed on
by one who loved
unquestioning
in this great universe
the joy to be
the unequivocal ecstasy
to be lying
beside you

now     in my dreams
your face takes shape
beside maps of rivers
frozen streams
my being
flows
        like glaciers
thawing
moves slow like granite
across tundra
              without sound
              without eyes
flowing
and you
            watching me sleep
a million miles away

I always wanted
I always wanted to be

     the one in the mirror

 
 

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