The smile neither kind nor happy, like fog
In branches pierced by sunlight shadows,
The brow pale and seamless snow.
She has not lost her beauty and her eyes
Are almost complete with intelligence.
Where is that sultry bitch of twenty-one
Who would not let love precede what came
Between her thighs? Why did her children
End up hating her for no reason at all?
She sits now on a blanket on the snow,
Smiling an exhausted smile at the camera.
A photo I won’t see for another year.
Don’t be sad, old friend, we were never
Lovers and we never hurt each other
More than children do making faces.
Your face, as beautiful as light, grinned
With a secret knowledge not of me
But of inner questions you never spoke,
That even today keep you as far from me
As the consciousness of space is space
And the knowledge of the past is past.
Your sorrow kept you small in your own
Eyes, and kept apart all meaningful contact
Even when my hand was beneath your shirt.
Your fingers, taking a cigarette from my hand,
Slid across vast stretches of my skin
To make evident your fear of the cold.
No, that’s over told. You simply meant
To turn on the young man you asked
For a ride home from the dance, your date
Having abandoned you for no reason.
Remember, you laughed with wonder
When I said I loved your summer dresses.
The great wonder is how such a wonder
As you could believe herself beneath
Every man she thought that she could love.
I got over you forever if not completely
And today I mourn your sorrow and ask
What new fog shadows your loveliness?