a sizzling slate sidewalk speckled like a spaniel in heat
is an unlikely canvas onto which to paint the mottled past:
in an aerial spray of chemical geraniums and exuberant gems
we have promoted the chrysanthemums into a cascading explosion
of the luscious pinks and sultry mauves that once burned a history
on the grainy needled page like a red iron on a bare wooden plank.
that part is, unfortunately, a distraction from the pain.
do you remember crouching by the mossy brick retaining wall
and cherishing the smooth pebbles we found by the anemic creek?
later we spat on the pale and cracked shale of the hillside sidewalks
and made a personal mortar to write our names in shades of beige.
saying good-bye to an old friend for the last time,
a friend that stood beneath the wispy poplars
in a spring that never ended in your mind:
I still cannot pronounce his name.