Sometimes the sound of sirens coursing through rain
brings back an image, water-damaged and close,
shaved each time of a little history;
of me and you stranded together like stripes.
We were an ugly pairing;
the blue base of you — the green pulse of my veins
charging in your tight hand.
If I called out to you, that was my mistake.
If you liked the look of my salt-dreaded hair
I’m sorry, but that was incidental.
You came and went so many times that
I learnt how to see your light more clearly
by looking just to the left of it.
The sullied shape of memory is grey stratus
over the ocean’s battered surface but
despite all appearances,
I cannot rise above it.
About that, you remain silent.
You cling like a bat, all leather and darkness,
you cling to a tree I don’t know the name of.
We the living have set up new electric lines
buoyed in elaborate networks but privately,
still prefer two paper cups and a length of string.
We share our papery memories
and all our mother’s favorite aphorisms
red and yella you’ll meet a fella
blue and green should never be seen.