A Flame in Your Heart

Charles Bernstein


As slow as Methuselah and as old as

molasses, time passes but nobody ever
does anything about it ö the soda water

at the club on Tuesday so much more fishy

than it used to be and the giant marmoset
in the bedroom wants more cookies and milk

before fading into memory's skipped disk.

Once you came to me in a shadow
and I don't know how to count the years

since, since counting is just the thing I  

am learning not to do. Your bracelet
adorns your wrist like a knight in ardor

crying for a key to the tumbledown cabin

on the dunes. A bonnet repairs what
the billy-goat embargos ö ocean of this

close and then again, until all the folds

are rounded into the bend. And we meet,
like actors in a made-for-TV mini-series,

at the end of a pier on a blind alley or

on a steamship or in a crowded piazza in
an unidentifiable Italian city that turns

out to be Bayonne . You're there in the final

scene and so am I but we don't recognize
each other because we've gone beyond

all that. Then the signal blasts with

unendurable music and we collapse into
the sound, into ourselves as make-believe

as any devout hugamug with a hankering

for infinite finitude: Just a walk down the street
of the imaginary enclosure that becomes real

when shared.