Ephemera

When I dream
It is hard to deem
This memory
Isn’t entirely mine

Or it isn’t me in that frame
Propped up on her bed against the pillows
The lampshade on the side table
Blushing walls almost turquoise green
The whiff of sea and freedom on her cheek
You loved to breathe in

Nana, tell me a story!
And she looks at you sideways
Blowing a perfect ring of smoke
(That flick of her cigarette
The flair we’d love to gain)

I would have reached out
And tried to hold that thinning ring
In my cupped hands
Like now you try to hold her in your mind

The child would have asked her
Nana, if you cry for someone, in a dream,
Does it count?
If I mistook someone else
For you, in a dream, does it count?

We’ve woken up
Having loved and lost
To the pained residues of cigarette haze
Scattered ash
In a tray

It’s another day
And we try again
To hold
With our hands cupped
Before it fades away

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