Tuesday, September 7, 2010

All the Lost Days

Every day has a thousand ways to slip away from you.
Every day is an artist of escape.
Some walk right beside you
on certain gray sidewalks,
you’re certain you’ve seen before.
But they trick you. They distract you.
They make getaways you never even see.
You’re in the blind alley thinking Houdini, whodunnit,
or how did it come to this?
They’re hiding behind the false wall, snickering.

Some have already left you,
and still they talk about you,
in midnight meetings when they know you’re asleep.
They break at dawn and arrange themselves
into years and decades,
like teams of con men in a square.
They know what is beneath each shell, each card
they slide across the table.
They know the insides of your pockets,
the contents of your wallet,
and they fleece you for even thinking you could have secrets
worth remembering.

But most days just invite themselves into your house,
with their boring friends,
their minutes and moments like fat old men.
They trap you in your easy chair;
they tell stories until you’re dizzy, until you nod off,
nodding as politely as you can –
the last thing you see, the minutes slapping each other on the back,
spilling on the carpet,
and the one drunk day
hiking up his shirt to show you the scars.

You wake up alone,
the fridge is cleaned out and the cupboards are bare –
they made off with everything.
You go to the doorway,
the door left open and swinging in the cold night air, and through it:
only the lights on the highway have come out to greet you
along with the bright, sharp stars.
And somewhere in those hills,
all the lost days are making their way through old roads
and forgotten shortcuts,
nodding to each other as they pass in the dark,
none afraid,
linked arm in arm with your dreams like wives in an old-time promenade.

And whatever they whisper to each other
is gentle,
and in a perfect confidence
that you will never know.

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