by Theo Dorgan
All day I have been sorting keepsakes,
sorting and sifting, selecting —
feather, bird–bone, leaf and root,
a scrap of bright stuff from a dress,
a stone, a shell — evidences,
laid out around me in haphazard rings.
Now is the gathering, as night
is gathering in, the making of heaps —
like with unlike or like, all happy
guess and intuition, my hand
picking and placing, the rapt
absorption of a child, you’d say,
circling the circling of his own attention.
And now it’s done as the moon,
a day off the full, rides over the houses.
I spark a discreet blaze in the back yard,
well–seasoned ash, February’s cut,
and into the cast iron pot, first gift
you gave me, I cast my two dozen
memories, a memory for every year
we’ve walked this earth together.
Now we add water to the scorch, drawn
from that rock–cleft in the Aetheros
high up in the piney woods,
brought carefully home in a sealed flask.
Now the reducing, the boiling down,
and now the distilling to essence
and finally, drawn through the crystal coils,
the sweet drops I hold in this glass flask.
You will stretch out beside me under Belfast
lights and hold me in your look. Here is distillate
to make our eyes dilate, a drop on each tongue
and then the kiss — and then, if you will,
the old, dancing climb into the familiar stars.