by Michelle Witte
This day has been taken, too,Second Place Winner
stolen, or wriggled free, like a fish, and disappeared,
despite being weighted by the usual things
a run on the brown path, breakfast with a friend,
a cup of coffee, then another half cup, then another.
These things are mine
these are the tiny stitches of my life
and I want to remember even the hundredth,
even the thousandth of them.
The black coffee teardrop sliding down
the bright white ceramic,
the smell of the black earth and broken grass.
I read a book today, and how unfair it is
that I will forget it first the reading of it,
then the book itself.
I sat so easily in the curving wooden chair,
slouched, leg over one arched armrest,
foot on the coffee table,
toe against my empty cup.
These things will not always be easy, they say;
someday that I did them will seem a miracle.
Memory is a poor tool for collecting days,
concerned as it is with moments.
Mine is too full of my last lover, grammar,
the seed drill, Queen Victoria,
while what I will want when I am stiff
when the words before me are too close to read
what I will want is to finger
my perfectly matched days like a rosary,
to feel them, smooth and entire,
and maybe, then,
to break the strand and spill them,
let them run through my fingers,
to plunge my hand into this lavish waste of time,
this expanse, given to me for nothing,
to feel them say yes, you were living,
you were living all the time, yes you were.