Skies hang today like my gray-brown
bed sheet from when I knew you,
discolored by countless nights
of filthy feet and scraped knees
from spud and ding dong ditch
and ghosts in the graveyard,
never washing white.

How long it takes to see
the nonwhite on the sheet
and then longer still to decide
whether to care —
whether to try
one more time to wash it clean,
or let it stand as another
of the endless monuments to defeat.

My memory of you is pure,
whiter than that sheet
when first pulled from the package,
its creases’ first ever unfolding.
It still gleams in a slow ember,
slow enough to remain steadfast,
waiting to be noticed, recollected,
its soft brilliance drawing my eyes
to something wondrous, elemental:

Your youth, your joy, your possibilities;
your shoulders sloughing off the dingy
residue that seemed to drag all of us
back to our choiceless beginning;
your simple truth;

how windows flew open
when you came around, breezes flowing through
random and wild.

Is it possible you existed that way
and refashioned all the world
to exist that way? Is it possible
that you held me on your knee
singing and glistening?
Is it possible that your light opened me
and dispersed the shadow of shadows,
leaving me with something unnamable,
forever new, yet so hidden
that it surprised me once again
as I woke this morning?

I wonder where you are
and if you still gleam in the same way,
or if you have chosen to put that ember down
to face our uncomfortable, perpetual grime.
Would I dare glisten?