“Unmarked” by Tim Seibles

                        for Natalie

So much like sequins
the sunlight on this river.
Something like that kiss—

Fourth of July, with the moon
down early      the air moved

as if it were thinking,
as if it had begun
to understand

how hard it is
to feel at home
in the world,

but that night
she found a place
just above your shoulder

and pressed her lips
there. Soft rain

had called off the fireworks:
the sky was quiet, but
back on Earth

two boys cruised by on bikes
trying out bad words. You turned
to reach her mouth,

at last, with yours      after weeks
of long walks, talking

about former loves
gone awry—

how the soul finally
falls down

and gets up alone
once more

finding the city strange,
the streets unmarked.

Every time you meet someone
it’s hard not to wonder

who they’ve been—one story
breaking so much

into the next: memory
engraves its hesitations—

but that night
you found yourself
unafraid. Do you remember

what the wind told the trees
about her brown hair?—
how the cool dark turned around:

that first kiss,
long as a river.

Didn’t it seem like you already loved her?

Off the sidewalk: a small pond,
the tall cattails, all those sleepy koi

coloring the water.

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