Wild is the Wind
–Carl PhillipsAbout what’s past, Hold on when you can, I used to say,And when you can’t, let go, as if memory were one of thosemechanical bulls, easily dismountable, should the rideturn rough. I lived, in those days, at the forest’s edge —metaphorically, so it can sometimes seem now, thoughthe forest was real, as my life beside it was. I spentmuch of my time listening to the sounds of random, un-knowable things dropping or being dropped from, variously,a middling height or a great one until, by winter, it wasjust the snow falling, each time like a new, unnecessarytaxonomy or syntax for how to parse what’s plain, snowfrom which the occasional lost hunter would emergeevery few or so seasons, and — just once — a runaway childwhom I gave some money to and told no one about,having promised … You must keep what you’ve promised
very close to your heart, that way you’ll never forgetis what I’ve always been told. I’ve been told quitea lot of things. They hover — some more unbidden thanothers — in that part of the mind where mistakes and tornwishes echo as in a room that’s been newly cathedraled,so that the echo surprises, though lately it’s less the echoitself that can still most surprise me about memory —it’s more the time it takes, going away: a mouth openingto say I love sex with you too it doesn’t mean I wanna stop
my life for it, for example; or just a voice, mouthless,asking Since when does the indifference of the body’s
stance when we’re alone, unwatched, in late light, amountto cruelty? For the metaphysical poets, the problemwith weeping for what’s been lost is that tearswash out memory and, by extension, what we’d hopedto remember. If I refuse, increasingly, to explain, isn’texplanation, at the end of the day, what the sturdiertruths most resist? It’s been my experience thattears are useless against all the rest of it that, if Icould, I’d forget. That I keep wanting to stay shouldcount at least for something. I’m not done with you yet.