If you re-tell a life,
tell and re-tell things that had happened,
tell and re-tell old loves, friends and deaths
(if only to yourself), if you re-tell a life
events will swirl and stick to a line of time
like flies to poisoned paper.
They will become like notes on a stave,
finding congruity and harmony in a key
that, in their soundless isolation, did not exist
And, as you tell and recount, you know it must be false;
harmony and progression are not singular;
melody moves only from silence to silence.
If you chose then not to re-tell the story,
the sequence and harmony seem to fail;
the sounds jangle and grate,
and they lie unplaced without resonance,
like old broken delft, the shadow memory of
a shattered pattern on a painted cup,
or some random flies scattered dead
in the corner of the dusty window frame.
If you re-tell a life
will emerge unbidden in the telling.
The shape and sound of words will
gather in the fragments of other things –
strange motes and specks that could be gold,
or broken cobwebs flecked with dead flies’ wings.
And so too are gathered in your wheezing pauses,
the breaths of breathing ghosts,
the creaking of the old house and
the banshee wind astride the high gables
screeching and re-screeching
like Minerva never wanting
and never finding peace.
A new word turns an old corner,
and a pattern shifts. Past and future
never really meet and the present
to an old beginning.