Memento Mori


We will meet again
in the wide clearing
of a forest I’ve never been to,
where the grass grows unabashedly,
under a sky that knows no clouds.

We will meet in one million years,
when everyone we know and knew
has faded into the ashes underneath our feet and all around,
 floating like silver grey atomic particles in textbooks
and the stray eyelash you brushed off my cheek.

 You will not be the same you,
and I will not be the same me,
but we will know each other like a fitful dream I once had.

I’ll know your face because
it was carved into the lines of my palms,
the wrinkles of my smile,
the blank space behind my eyelids.

I’ve searched for your laugh in the eyes of everyone I’ve ever met,
your touch in the lips of everyone I’ve ever kissed.

This will not be the first time we meet, but it will be the last.

We met in a humble universe,
a thousand infinities before.

I knew you old and grey in the Victorian age
in the audience of a tragic Shakespeare play;
I found you young and barefaced
starting a revolution,
and still you were familiar to me—
and still are.

We recognized each other in the coffee house
where the Beat poets spun their words.

We met gazes across aisles in subways,
marches on Washington, secret speakeasies,
bloodstained battlefields, Polaroid photographs
illegal soirees, Pacific islands, art museums,
empty beaches, spiral staircases;
I found you
in the arms of another person who wasn’t you,
someone who maybe had the same warm way with words,
or an almost identical mischievous half-grin,
but never quite you, never as permanent as you.

I’ll see you,
a thousand faces in a blurry crowd,
a nervous boy in a schoolyard romance,
or drunk and stumbling in the college dormitory;
you’ll laugh and I’ll know it’s you

our world will end,
but I won’t cry.

Because I know that the day before it does,
we will find each other—
where the grass grows unabashedly,
safe in the dreams that once kept us awake,
and I will take your hand and turn into ashes,
into our humble universe,
into a galaxy the color of your familiar face.



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