Remembering

Sitting there frozen in
old memories, recalling our favorite
lines from Proust.
Trembling as I close my eyes,
hearing the joys and sorrows
of twelfth grade one last time.

I’m drowning in emotions; they tear at me,
pulling me beyond my fail safe
and I cringe, frightened.
Eyes wide shut, I misunderstand
the mirage, gazing at a chimara
of your face and I let out a sigh.

I catch glimpses of you across the meadow.
The sun dances through your hair;
your feet float above the grass
and you vanish behind our
favorite willow tree where my lips
first touched yours.

That summer of our wildness
was incomparable, a cruel yardstick
against which I’ve measured every
summertide of my later days,
struggling with the emptiness and
hollowness of everything not you.

If only I could un-lose you, hold you
securely, tightly, intensely,
like before.
Just for a moment, just for a season.
I reason with God—please let me keep
my first love.

Things were simple
back when I knew you.
Uncomplicated and sure. I smile
and reach for you—it’s second nature.
All this remembering has me
by the heart.

My present life is haunted—
I feel the warmth of you
on my sheets.
I catch faint remains of your sweet perfume,
and reach for something I can’t have.
Something I maybe never had.

©2020 Steven Barto