A Square of Time

Something I can’t explain / Crept on my shoulders tonight
Unrecognizable in weight / I simply felt myself heavy with it

Perhaps it was a simple thought / Throwing me chaotically into a history forgotten
But it was a simple picture / Falling softly from between pages worn
A square of time seemingly brighter than before / Brushing my fingertips as if to reconnect
As my toes reach out and dig into carpet / I sit, back to the wall, almost forlorn
Every section examined and memorized / What does that look even feel like?

In those days long past gone / I race with in my head
With closed eyes, my mind runs back / And in a darkened room in a different house
I feel as I am there, smiling softly / In that old blue dress
I feel the edges brush my knees as I lean forward / A smoothed stone flies from my hand
Victorious five skips and I turn / Turn to make eye contact with you

Come on, I say, come on! / Your slender form turns as well
With a seventh skip I hear your voice ring once more through my ears / Laughing
In the soft breeze, our hair takes on lives of their own / Reach for your hand
Our toes bend with every step to reach around the pebbles / Into the gently flowing river
I knew then you wouldn’t be there forever / But even then, I couldn’t face the truth

What I wouldn’t give to jump through time / Into this memory
Skip pebbles for hours / But this time, I promise I would pay attention
Without knowing, you had been telling me how / How to make it in this world
It took six years for me to learn / That all you spoke was true
And six years to learn that no matter how many stars shot through the sky
No matter how many 11:11’s I caught or how often I crossed my fingers

You weren’t going to be here to see it and share it with me
Six years and through it all / I’ve begged to wake up from a dream so cold
A dream where the sun never shines as bright as that day / The dress doesn’t brush but scratch
Pebbles aren’t smooth under my toes / And I can only skip a stone three times
In this picture I hold / A day where you still laugh with me

Others have forgotten and others still cry / Others have hidden you and buried you
I float on the surface of my memories / Looking through a shallow river
To a wavering river bottom / And your hand on my shoulder
To a hug so tight and a smile so real / To a love that has trained me for years
I have carried you in my pocket since that day / On my skin you will stay

But to drift back to the blue dress and sunlit hair,
To compare the treasures buried beneath gnarled roots and worn stones
To not sit in a darkened room like a child and cross my fingers for you to walk through my door
To not feel so forgotten, left on a surface for others to feed on
Every day is one more step, one more skip of the stone
When I will open my eyes and together, I can show you
What I have done with the knowledge you gave me
I live every day to make you proud,
To make someone else realize there is more
Than a sea of clouds and a sky of water

And with that, I open my eyes and the room is once more darkened
My toes are back in a carpet not yet aged
The chill of the air conditioner pours into four walls
And there on my shelf, is an old pebble, worn smooth from years of necessary reassurance
And I smile


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