for Natalie So much like sequins the sunlight on this river. Something like that kiss— remember? Fourth of July, with the moon down early the air moved as if it were thinking, as if it had begun to understand how hard it is to feel at home in the world, but that night she found a place just above your shoulder and pressed her lips there. Soft rain had called off the fireworks: the sky was quiet, but back on Earth two boys cruised by on bikes trying out bad words. You turned to reach her mouth, at last, with yours after weeks of long walks, talking about former loves gone awry— how the soul finally falls down and gets up alone once more finding the city strange, the streets unmarked. Every time you meet someone it’s hard not to wonder who they’ve been—one story breaking so much into the next: memory engraves its hesitations— but that night you found yourself unafraid. Do you remember what the wind told the trees about her brown hair?— how the cool dark turned around: that first kiss, long as a river. Didn’t it seem like you already loved her? Off the sidewalk: a small pond, the tall cattails, all those sleepy koi coloring the water.
Copyright © 2018 by Tim Seibles. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on October 1, 2018, by the Academy of American Poets.
About this Poem
“This poem was inspired by one long kiss that began a romance that has continued to this day. While working the drafts, it came to me that every love is quietly (or not-so-quietly) in dialogue with past loves. I think this is what baggage refers to. In simple terms, I just hope this poem offers a clear snapshot of a perfect beginning.”
Tim Seibles is the author of Fast Animal (Estruscan Press, 2012), a finalist for the 2012 National Book Award.
Date Published: 2018-10-01
Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/unmarked