Rewriting Your Life

byKimberly Blaeser
not just the past
that matters the most,

but those haunting scenes
that make anger and panic rise in your throat
at the domestic quarrels of strangers.
The same sort
that makes my pulse pound in my ears
to drown out that saccharine alcohol voice
of the women two booths away.

Erasing, replacing
the longings that arose from want
the causes
of your jacket fetish
the causes
of the bathtub in my parent's yard
the causes
of all old patterns stumbling on to renew themselves
of personal quirks
and other small tortures.

The children we were
we are.

I've added
a child with chink eyes
to those
bruised souls
whose lives
I rewrite
on my bluest days
and in the midst of my happiest moments
some part that seems physical
with a longing
to repair
the past.

The aches in our bones are memories I'm told.
The tearing and stitching of our flesh
not the physical wear of age
really small but impossible hopes
dreamed endlessly
in smoke-filled pool halls
in one-room cold-water flats
dreams of grease splattered arms
taking shorthand
legs crossed at the ankles
just above a pair of black patent leather pumps.

The little tug in our voices
we wash down with complimentary water
at public podiums and in banquet halls
it is the pull of the small store of joy
of a people born poor
studying in school to be ashamed
it is the shiny marbles
our children shot across muddy school yards
and then washed and lined neatly to dry
it is fresh winter snow served with cream and sugar
nickel tent movies
and hurrah for the fourth of july!

It is your memories too now
that raise the flesh on my arms and legs.
And perhaps in time we can write across
that other life with this one,
but never enough to obscure it
just enough to make a new pattern
a new design
pitifully inadequate perhaps
for all that has happened -
but beautiful as only loved pain can be.

And so I write across your life that way
with mine
I write across your life with love
that comes from my own pain
and then, of course,
I write your face across my pain.

© 1997 Kimberly Blaeser. Trailing You, Greenfield Review Press.

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