January 19, 2016

Towers by Askold Skalsky

Arriving late in Chincoteague, watching
your eyes when you mentioned a decade
had already passed, it's so simple, I thought,
like tossing in the first unformed waves of chill,
a glorious eight-bar modulation poured into

our autumn's lap, and we stranded in an empty
summer’s shack while the ground under us
remained faithful to its turn of leaves and leavings.
By the thin bracket of a lamp I glanced at myself
beside you and let our only room settle

into its cul de sac, the past mending its silence
like a spider slowly descending the bright filament
at the mercy of a little wind. We imagined
our hands touching on the white sands
of lighthouse lots, one last chance out of many

after we drove three hours, trusting the small
flat-roofed cottages were still there, slowly
displaying their brown-gray destiny of loss
where people outlived their days on porches
past which we would ride our clumsy bikes.

Save the photographs, you had said,
and I stored these episodes, carefully indexed
and unfinished in the middle of our sleep,
like tall laborious towers we had climbed and stopped,
now that we knew they were for jumping off.

Askold Skalsky, born in Ukraine, currently resides in Hagerstown, Maryland. His poems have appeared in over 300 magazines and online journals in the USA as well as in literary publications in Canada, England, Ireland, mainland Europe, Turkey, Australia, and Bangladesh. A first collection, The Ponies of Chuang Tzu, was published in 2011 by Horizon Tracts in New York City.

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