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Poem: The Past Slid Back

The past slid back

and our childhood stands

in a long-worn place:


the plush of our hands

by a stammering fire,

the sputtering tongue

of a candle then higher

than dark, brotherly hills.


Still, I see the films of our eyes

now flicking with years:

warming our bones

on the doorstep of home;

the ropeswing,

the late light,

the searchlight

which groaned

in that long afternoon

when you didn’t come home.



the cracks in this ground

still hold twelve-year old feet.

The voice of the child that you were

curling the ceiling to meet

with the ghost of your long-lost



And last,

I think of the distant

chime of your voice

that split

at my skull;


my dull dumb thumb

on the telephone which rung

out the world

for your words,



wherever you were

you were gone.