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Craig Verlin Jul 2022
when the sun might set forever
and the anywhere of where you are
might just be the right place at that
moment to be, so long as you
take a long pause—maybe waiting
on the crosswalk while that last car
swings past right at the red, or
maybe watching the elevator
ping to ground level and letting
the old woman step out first
with her bags—and use that
silent moment to see the Sun again
and notice it there even now,
this late in the game, and if it
can hang as heavy as a thousand
earths a thousand times over
up there in that big stretch
of sky and space then so can you,
right there
wherever you are.
Craig Verlin Jul 2022
A turbid river with little current,
a roughened stone half-submerged
and softening in the stream.
There is a contradicting
endlessness to things,
even as everything ebbs
toward nonexistence.
The staid trunk of the oak tree
sits solid on the hillside and
its rings measure the infinite.

Memories that linger are both
yesterday and forever ago.
A turbid river with little current,
a stone sinking in the mud and eroding.
The shadows shift slightly
to the left

The end of long a long trip,
the endless handshake of time,
candlewax pooling in a tin as
the flame burns out.
Craig Verlin Jul 2022
Is it morning? I think I imagine it as a
spring morning—you with a coffee mug
in both hands, the early breeze
sweeping through the white curtains
of your bedroom, and the just-now-breaking
coverage of clouds parted by
the rising sunlight like the words
of a lover passing through gray lips.

It is not quite spring here,
but you can tell that the world is
beginning to awaken to itself.
The trees fight to bloom just as we
must have once, two strangers
scrambling out of the darkness.
I remember you
as a child in large mittens,
hands always cold even later
when your fingers had become
long, sensual, and painted dark against
your now-gray-but-once-red lips.

The most basic of desires is that
pit-of-stomach desire for a loved
one’s happiness, wherever it is that
they may be. And so I hope that you are happy.
I hope that the wind blows the sunlight
in through open curtain windows softly
like a whispered word and the coffee
is always just warm enough to keep
your fingers from the chill
and that it is always spring,
wherever you are.
Craig Verlin Jul 2022
How many years has it been now?
Filing cabinets full of minutes/hours/days.
A lifetime outlined in manila folder.
Five times now, it says in your record,
but where are the receipts?
Who falls in love and doesn’t get a receipt?
You can write it off and claim it
as a loss at the very least.

It has been seven years since
anything happened, another thirteen
since anything made sense.
The numbers don’t add up.
Where did the years go?
Each of their folder slim as if
they were never there at all.
Placeholders of a life lived in
hole-punched margins.
Craig Verlin Jul 2022
You are the age that I was
when we met.
I have become an artifact:
vestigial, an older
version of a thing no longer
necessary, a tool of stone tied
with fraying string in a world
moving on toward bronze.

An archaeologist digs
up my bones and scratches his head.
He cannot fathom what they
were for except in relation
to you.
Craig Verlin Mar 2022
I remember we took a walk most days that
allowed it. In step down the sidewalks,
we might have laughed at something
or another that I had said,
there was plenty of laughter
to go around then—and plenty of sidewalks.
They stretched around the river and
laced up the streets past the gym
where we met towards the house
that became our home.
Walking back, you might have smiled
or playfully slapped away my hand
from the small of your back before
leaning in to kiss my cheek.

Affection was neither of our strong suits
but it was a suit you wore better
than I did.

I remember you wore a black coat on our
first date and shrugged
out of it as we walked up to
the restaurant—baring a lone shoulder
and my first glimpse into your past.
I held the door and you rearranged
your hair, hiding it again.

I remember the scar was barely noticeable then,
me just a stranger and concerned
with so many other things.
How would the food taste?
How would the service be?
Would you like me enough to walk
those sidewalks home for another drink?

It was not until later that I would
find out what a burden that
small slip of flesh truly was.

I remember you had a slight fear of those
sidewalk cellar doors,
just enough to step around them each time
with a bit of a blush on your cheek
as if it were something to be ashamed of.

How strange, these things you remember.

This place to me now is not a city,
but an old ruin full and full of sidewalks
and, like a child with imagined lava,
I fear to touch them for the burn
of what remembrance they might bring.
Craig Verlin Nov 2021
Tied to the world
by the hands of grocery clerks,
by the blue aprons of baristas
and the fresh smells of cut bagels
in morning market stalls.
Tied to the world
by parked cars in parallel lines,
construction cranes climbing
back to life.

The moorings of a vast
and darkening ocean,
an anchor tied with twine
and small impersonal smiles
of welcome.

Tied to the world
by tall vines of ivy like scoliosis spines
rooting themselves upward in
the chipped bricks of
abandoned factory buildings.
Tied to the world by
small strings to hold us against ourselves,
small cracks in sidewalk pavements
where grass might one day grow again.

The earth spins at
a bearable speed when
the morning peeks through
curtained townhouse windows
on a quiet city block and the
birds make just enough
noise to be beautiful.
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