What Remains

I sat beneath you, my hands under your sweater,
and I could feel your breath stretch the skin
across your breasts, and I could feel your ribs
swell in the crooks of my arms.

The crook of the willow roots wrapped
around my back and cradled my hips.
You leaned into me, and I into the tree
under a gray silk sky and we,
hidden by the early autumn leaves
from the road a few yards away,
listened to cars whisper on the tarmac above us.

Hours later we stumbled from our sanctuary
and shared short kisses as we climbed the hill,
walked back to the car parked in the cemetery.
If I looked over my shoulder I could see
the young selves we left wrapped in each other
where they remain still, wrapped in the roots of the willow
even as the years slide by like salmon swimming in the ocean.

Late one morning, that young me rouses to a rattling
clatter coming up the road. He climbs the hill
to see what the noise is and his wide eyes spy an older you
in her wedding gown in the back of a car beside a man
who is not the older me.

For an instant the young me wants to find a rock
and hurl it through your window, but he notices tears
on your cheeks, and that your eyes aren't looking
at your new groom but out the window,
back to the old willow
and the us we left in that moment years ago.
'I knew of a certain sea captain who had in his cabin a lamp, made by Malayan embalmers from the body of his murdered mistress. On her head, she wore enourmous antlers. In the stillnes of the cabin, the face stretched between the antlers at the ceiling, slowly lifted its eyelids: on the half-opened lips a bubble of saliva would glint, then burst with the softest of whispers. Octopuses, tortoises and enormous crabs, hanging from the rafters in place of chandeliers, moved their legs endlessly in that stillness, walking, walking, walking without moving.'
Bruno Schulz - Street of Crocodiles
Brian Collier
Witch Garden