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Sestina

Somehow, the html mangled the format of my poem. So, here it is again.

Written later

Thought is memory’s mimic. Both take
the form of a dusting of snow slipped
from roofs by December storms, stealing
movement out of stasis by passing through time.
Reaching ground, the snow-dust’s ghosts will still,
and rest undisturbed except by renewed wind.

From Chicago’s sloping roofs, wind
rips free winter’s cold stiffened dust. I take
the ice scaled lake for old skin, still
and dry, that forms a face not slipped
into a smile or a grimace, but is sealed in time.
I will write later to remember, to steal

from time, is an attempt to shape to water, to steel
against the flight of moments that pass like wind-
blown snow. Outside the forgetfulness of time,
no remembrance. What souvenirs we take
splinter into our grasping hands, the moments slipped
out of the succession of time will not be stilled.

The past recurring in the present never stills
but remains liquid, unwrinkles as it steals
away like the unquiet ripples that slip
over the surface of a lake, charged by wind.
This is loss, this is gain: through memory’s mistakes
we resuscitate moments lost to dead time.

Past moments stir with breath as many times
as we remember them, and so remain unstill.
Thought, navigating shifting presence, takes
guidance from irresolute memory, stealing
sense from times past and possible, as if spirals of wind
directed their flight through the tenses. Both slip

along paths unseen save a scattering of dust slipping
along with them, dust that sketches an image of time
visible only through the movement of the wind.
I wrote earlier: on the lake I saw a face of ice, still
and dry, and later it cracked with a sound like steeling
knives, its fragments tracing the rhythm waves take.


In time, the wave-dance curls and collapses. It stills.

Cut by cold wind, I recall again winters’ image, steal
from slipping time, though what persists not what was taken.

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