Traces of the imperfectly erased

I wished you dead
which, at the time, seemed a clever way
of outsmarting the heart’s

fetid revolutions: loves me, loves me not, loves me,
loved me never.
I kept the wicked palimpsest tucked under my pillow

to keep from forgetting
where my dreaming came from. And so summer became
its own half-life —

shorter shadows, longer nights — and I picked from the path
to the river
only those leaves which had fallen before loosing

their shade of green,
fond little tokens of the untimely dead. I choose my respite
similarly. When the elk

come down off the mountains in deep winter,
I go to the places
they’ve left and find the cold hassocks of snow-filled grasses

abandoned there
and fit myself onto them: absence is the only place
I can truly sleep.

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