In a Place, at a Time, a Thing Happened
‘I have no memories anymore, but stories—
They always start the same as past, but then they go
The way there are scars on my left forearm that are
From different histories each time I tell it:
The light of a room, the age of some contacts
Or prescriptions color those pink-white ripples.
Now they’re dried islands of volcanic blasts, now
Sand clumps, or icebergs, or boulders
Wreathed with veins, pulsing and wrinkled
With age and weight and workout.
Now they’re scars from the time you
Did that something at our place,
Or when you, plural, asked what
Happened sometime at that place.
In that place, one time, a thing happened
To happen; outside, the shrubbery and weather
Became my mood—at the time of the telling,
Not the told—and changed each time it happened.
They are there, but not, for always warping in my life
Story, they grow and shrink with their place in my mind.
They are three, but two, and one—oil-spills of white ink,
Or wet pink paper, two in circles, rippled at the edges,
One like Lake Eerie, and bleeding out, into a line, viscously
. “A momma iceberg
And two baby boulders went out swimming
One day in a lake, eerily swamp-like and
Seeming to pulse. They had been somewhere
All along, but none remembered where,
Or why, or how they had forgotten.
They must’ve made a splash
When they’d jumped in, but all they knew now
Was that they were slowly sinking,
Slowly melting, or eroding—becoming one
With the lake—the pulsing, throbbing,
Ever-changing, eerie lake.”
A thing happened in a place one time.
To happen outside, the shrubbery and weather
Became my mood and the telling.
The time of the told changed each time it happened,
Like the time you did that something at our place.’