The Bones of Memory

29 November 2020

By Philip Kuepper

At close of season,
there is a sweeping out
of the boathouse, a sweeping out
of all, save memory
of the heats competed in,
the races, rowed,
shells, like lightning across the water,
shells, swamped,
when the river threw a tantrum.

There hang, in reminiscence,
soft summer evenings,
when a too tender moon
would let fall glow
on the gently wrinkling water,
causing float brief pearls of light;
there hang autumn afternoons
that gold-leafed the river,
and turned it bronze,
as light faded to dusk.

There hang, unforgotten,
the first sharp breaths
of cold that cut the rowers
to the bone, leaving shivers
climb, twistingly, time passing,
as they pulled on oars, laid up them,
to leave unstirred the river
until spring.  The ice
is a memory in waiting.

(28 October 2020)

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