Ground Zero

What conversation would you like rejoined,
pretending that no years have intervened
and that the cares we once thought so immense
still weigh in at their same old magnitude,
when those long idle hours spent in talk
with no intent except to measure time
with Prufrock’s gilded set of coffee spoons,
pretending some profundity in words
that seemed so easy then, rolled off the clock
like AWOL soldiers beyond duty’s fence?

What alternate reality would seem
the right place, now, to take up where we left,
imagining somehow the world had stopped
at just that precise moment when we two
in some ungainly ballet both were cast,
commanding neither balance or much grace,
and fumbled blindly at each other’s steps?
The music for that dance has long since stopped.
An awkward silence echoes from the stage
that swallows whole all kinds of might-have-beens.

What conversation that we never had
(at least, aloud in words, in the same room)
needs finishing at this point in our lives?
There is more water underneath that bridge
than fills the seven oceans of the world.
No, if we speak again, let’s talk as friends
who simply compare mileage and confess
no secrets, or regret for past mistakes;
what participles dangle in the mist
are sentences we’ve both served long enough. 

17 SEP 2009

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