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.’


—Seth Newmeyer

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