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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