When You Were So Young

[Note: This was originally published on Tumblr; since I’m actively cross-pollinating now, I’m publishing here.]

You were so young, then. I remember
when I met you, that I could just remember
what it was like to be that young.
I don’t guess you’re quite so young
now; now I only remember remembering.

Of course, I remember you. I think
you’re growing bald a bit, but
of course I don’t care—the scorch marks
of age never quite make you any less
handsome, at least not from my
shifting view.

Time and place—all our places travel with us;
sunbleached paint and dirty baseboards
mark time with their cues of growing decay.
Your eyes are still so bright.

I thought time would make you less timid, but then
I never really understood you, never really
got why you didn’t fight through life, why you
just went limp in the face of everything.
If only someone could carry you.
If only I could carry you.
If only there were something more to do
than watch.

Auden said that time and fevers
burn away—and he’s right;
love is the ash, the residue
of my fevered time; my love for you is
dusty, remote, like a long neglected cabin
at the end of wild, feral trails.

It’s something that I’ve put in a box and
tucked into the back of the hallway closet;
maybe it will soak up the soft scent of the linens.
And I’m sorry I left you behind. I didn’t want to leave you
alone there; I wanted to burn with you.

But now, I’m married.

Cobain would rhyme that with buried—and
he’d be right. But we can both remember before;
we can both remember that I knew you
when you were so young…