Leaving Albania

by Morelle Smith

My mind is peeling away
from this place - separating,
like two sheets of paper.

Once, this place and I were stuck so close
together - your time pressed against me
like sun on my palm,
like a thumb,
like a hard coin,
like a hand or a whole other
body, like someone that you watch -
while he does not know that you are watching -
someone you listen to,
when he does not know
that you are listening and the sounds
of his voice run over your eyelids
like water, down your face and arms
and into your palm.

Your time was my time -
I wore you and my palm
was hot with your sun
and I wore you with
no distance and no separation.

But your time is leaving -
or perhaps it is mine -
peeling from me like purple fig-skin -
and the days tremble slightly,
and the roasted corn sellers grow
dim and less bright
with the scent of hot charcoal
and the hurrying nights
with their sackfuls of shade
smearing an ashy line between
kerbstone and road, between evening
and light; between your thumb
and my palm.

Crimson peppers, marine blue grapes,
dusky purple figs and lemons
so yellow I blink my eyes,
have a shawl of time on them,
marked by the lacy pattern
of the chestnut trees.
Time’s hand is less pressing
but its mark rests on me
like a melody, a reedy music
that wanders up the thin streets,
doused with shade.

This place and me shared one time,
like lovers, we counted no costs
and no losses, the dusty streets
they were me, and the rocking paving
stones and the rubble were my wake
and my clouds and my forgetfulness.
My palm was the pressure of your thumb.

My mind is peeling away
from this place but the sun itself -
or so it seems -
has hesitated, and has not left yet.
If something called future
takes your thumb from my palm
what will I call you then?
Past? A memory? A dream?
And what will I call myself
when I have never felt as close
to time as I do


Morelle Smith's picture

The present moment always feels like the most important. Right now is a sultry evening in Paris. More information about work on the web, can be found on my weblog Rivertrain, http://rivertrain.blogspot.com, Poetry collections include, The Star Reaper, Deepwater Terminal, The Way Words Travel and The Ravens and the Lemon Tree

Last updated August 20, 2011