Why does one person call up another
After the Dear Jane
and the Pomp and Circumstance;
after the sorority luncheons and sit-ins,
and the peace before the war;
after the media was thought to be a good translation;
after experimentation was broiled salmon
in a lemon dill sauce and marriage
was sturdy and boring like a mossy stone.
And even later still,
after the body was forgotten by its caretaker,
and the mind was washed in tidal rue;
after the mailman became threatening
with his tall socks and his discontent; and information
crowded the electric streets?
How, after all this, could one person
call up another years later
(as if memory were collecting his fee)
and ask forgiveness
for that moment at the lake, or outside the window
on a roof, or in the caf' bruised by shadows '
when life took in a breath and then collapsed
and emotion was likened to a priest
and a prison guard?
Will the apology be refused? Can it be?
Does the breath go with the voice
and love sink further into the stomach?
Or does the odyssey of a million thoughts
between two lives
warm the remembrance and fill the lungs?