This day last year we were whispering     in the dark
and that strange night     complex patterns of moon and streetlight played along our limbs
and the laughter hit us     every time it subsided, erupting as we dressed and rummaged
to find a name for the darkened silence     while a collar dove was thrashing in my breast
That was when we still believed     in shared realities and some meeting point     within
Strange     like finding shapes     in the dark     and drawing pictures in the air only we
could see     eyes wide     faces open     you perceiving me and me perceiving you
as if we could merge our histories and world assumptions     I saw you so intently
as a child     planted frog-legged, hands splayed and suckered to the floor
over a Sunday supplement cartoon and me on the other side     of the ocean     painting leaves and talking to a carved wood and ivory     Chinese man     the size of my thumb

And there was something about you in those     dark tumbled nights all prairie-land
and cowboy     that made me want to tumble with the tumbleweeds and line-dance and run
with Spanish wild horses in the quiet whisperings That was when     we still held hope
Sometimes I’d see you in a wood     you’re the southern Florida     of my childhood
all seventies with budding sexuality     You’re Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid
or the Marlboro man, only younger     like Michael Bannick, the kid who lived down the road
with his dad and kept snakes in a rabbit hutch     redesigned This was when we still believed
in shared perceptions, capacity and willingness and you were cowboy boots and shell choker
necklaces in the art festivals of my longing twelve-year-old eyes,     first kisses
in a disco when I landed in Ireland     wearing a cheesecloth smock and faded denims

And we planned our deaths     in some hot country old and frail     I’d have had just enough     and
close my eyes on our soft quilted bed while you tended the olive trees     and knew
just where to bring my ashes, me resolved to go first and you     strong enough     to take it
In the heavy fragrant air and energy     between our moonlit selves     the dark and silence
was so thick     we could swallow it whole     before history caught us    still startled
that was when we still believed