Friday Poem

We remember the rabbit when we see the duck, but we cannot
experience both at the same time.
…………………… —E.H. Gombrich, Art and Illusion


What do you remember? When I looked at

his streaky glasses, I wanted

to leave him. And before that? He stole those

cherries for me at midnight. We were walking

in the rain and I loved him.

And before that? I saw him coming

toward me that time at the picnic,

edgy, foreign.
But you loved him? He sat in his room with

the shades drawn, brooding. But you

loved him? He gave me

a photo of himself at sixteen, diving

from the pier. It was summer. His arms

outstretched. And before that?

His mother was combing his soft curls

with her fingers and crying. Crying.
Is that what he said? He put on the straw hat

and raced me to the barn. What did he

tell you? Here's the dried rose, brown

as tobacco. Here's the letter that I tore

and pasted. The book of blank pages

with the velvet cover. But do you still
love him? When I rub the nap

backwards, the colors lift,

bristle. What do you mean?

Sometimes, when I'm all alone,

I find myself stroking it.

by Chana Bloch
from The Past Keeps Changing
Sheep Meadow Press, 1992