It is here now for a minute, that finger-drawn face
on the steamed glass is yours, ars brevis,
fading as the warmth evaporates the room.
What aging takes away, aging leaves behind,
memory’s bits of steps taken and somethings said,
a long and longing trail of warm crumbs
turning to cold white brittle pieces,
rimed to porous bone in the deepening winter chill.
My longing glance behind me stumbles memory,
tracks up all over what was, and is, is was so swiftly now,
and might-have-beens wind in a blurry trampled on then too,
every piece of each committed to compartments so safe
that no key known can spring the locks,
and all those combinations do is spin to nothing.
I go back, or try to stretch back hard, stiffened and sore,
fumble all the clues to this or that, juggler of somethings somewhere on
the tip of my tongue, or at the edge of my mind,
I try to watch the wind, the moving air behind me.
Let’s rest now, we travelers having reached the inn,
the fellowship of respite’s breath before the rest comes in.