by Adam Fitzgerald

The life we didn’t live.
The time tepid as bronze, but honest.
The stacked air, the frozen rail,
the dripping of blue drops in summer.
The honey-trees, the brick façade,
the empty canyons of light between
a street and the wheeled grocery cart of the sun
where a cloud slips his footing.
The sky, a noisome record of some clerk.

The wooden hours, the fort postcards,
the salvoes of breakfast paper,
and the sense of time on exhibit,
where the gears are inert, inanimate.
The dolly, the one side of a house,
the other four stories high.
The poor scholar himself.
The tumult and flux of countrymen.
The paralytic’s voice. The sour journey.
The lilt, the Queen’s presence,
the traffic on Monday, at dinner,
in distraught places like subway benches.
The different kinds of Night.
The different kinds of ocean floors,
the step downstairs, the fourteen feet,
the bedroom forbidden by law.
The apples. The gardens. The cherries,
strawberries, currants, gooseberries.
The rich cream stale in the slow pale.
The small fruits. The rubber neck-tie.
The nude shadow of a baroque statue.
The accounted spots. The oats.
The breadcorn. The skaters that soon melt.
The wild and domestic clock.
The rainy season of pears, and frosted lakes.

The life we didn’t live.
The sky’s receipt. The description of home.
The nerves. The mending. Growing weaker.
The flower cut-ups. Ornate polaroids.
The forgotten monologues and speeches.
The banisters where the climate sticks.
The honored story. The humbled servant.
The chamber. The horror. The rambler.
The diminished chord.

The wind to tell us who we are.
And the departing sloop of our look.
The advanced trust, the ordinary desires.
The mistress. The bus line. The Come hither.
The omitted day. The highland notions.
The liberal miles. The leaving. The place.
The sun. The succession of rain,
quite indifferently.

The refrain. The plain song.
The meadow in the wind.
The hired passage. And yesterday,
the lying down to recover breath,
or argument. The raiment.

The usual tributes of intelligence are lost.
The great minds call to the forced tempest
with sweet slight hands.

Once in a while, at winter,
we turn and nod back, a cabbage farm
lining our suit, a trotting click in our throat,
and remember the long letter of good health.
The isles of sky. A forgotten self.
And the valley, lean with solitude,
immaculate with stars.