YOU

by Peter Davison


From beyond the borders of memory you seemed to
     gaze, enfold, clothe me,
          lift me: I was held, washed,

fed. On unsprung legs I swayed and
     tottered. Your smile urged me into
          walking. Your words urged me out

into words. Your scowl stunned and guarded me. You taught,
     scolded, attended. And now, you vanish.
          What dark seas must I canvass to

undrown you? How far have you drifted,
     castaway? I yearn
          across pathless waterlands for

a whiff of your remembered fragrance, a waft
     of warm arms, the flick and murmur of
          your speaking, the fall of your soft song,

the hushed kisses of your mouth.
     Who could have thought you would ever so
          immoderately disappear? Or imagine

that, no matter how hard I haul
     on the ligaments of our fateful
          connection, you could never possibly

return, never
     respond, never
          speak, never
          know me?
 
Peter Davison is the poetry editor of The Atlantic. His poems in this issue will appear in his newest collection of poetry, to be published by Knopf in September.
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