Jeffrey D. Talmadge

for M.

I was thinking of a time
before waters, before scotches
and recollections of sun
on mornings nameless in light.
Leaves peaked green before fall; I
drove those roads familiar to
you, on toward Charles Town; I was
in your name written, breathless
on fields of corn, heavy-headed
with rain. In a town only vaguely
familiar I paced sidewalks, meeting
reflections in storefronts,
looking for you. Days were
that I wore your soul like
scarves around my neck in wind,
waving, waiting for your return;
Naked, unfeathered, it cried
for warmth, a voice, a song,
to tell me the night is warm
and there is time.
But now,
the sky cold and blue,
roads worn, crops dead, I reflect
on days more wisely spent,
and they are not with you.