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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