Sweet summers we stayed outdoors
till we could no longer tell
the trees from the dark between them
and a brigade of fireflies had failed
in its quest to prolong the day.
We had a name for daylight’s stopping
time in a slow embrace of farewell,
a kind reprieve to our outdoor games
till the moment night’s blanket covered
the last of earth’s cradle, and the blanket
came alive with singing: that name was forever.
We never spoke the name, but we knew—
Our minds were filled with forever.
Forever was also how long my friend and I
had known each other—we stood
by the trunk of the big tree in his front yard
trying to remember when we’d met,
struggling to give a name to a stretch
of the rolling river of Time, but such thoughts
flooded the beds of our minds.
All origins lay dim in memory’s forest:
“two years ago”, we murmured, but that
was just another name for forever.
Ah, that child’s “forever” turned out to be
a comet speeding through the vaster
firmament of our allotted days.