Listen:

Maybe our reverence is for the lost afterall.
Maybe the wash of light that caused our lives

still drizzles at its complicating junctures
like stalactites or the terrible hands of God.

When I was younger and still living back in Wisconsin,
at night with friends I used to lay on the ice

draped over Pike Lake and watch the clouds,
indefinite and lavender,

stumble above the spark of dock lights
patterning the lake’s dark edge.

We may never be known the way we are known,
never turn an ear deaf to our echo.

The night before Shane left for Denver,
he told me again how it was he came to be

and where it was he had gone wrong
and what it eventually would have looked like

to have stayed and died at home in Alabama,
its pastures of ash, sidereal and unrelenting.

What could I have possibly said then
to keep him here in Texas?

That in time the summer heat would break?
That cars would quit blowing the light on 45th and Duval

during one last riotous night of Lou Reed and shit beer
bringing us back to a nameless heaven?

We might think of the past as an adage undone,
a series of bloodlines needlessly broken,

but in truth no absence is sheltered any more than its elission,
and I have given nothing I would not give again.

Image taken from page 499 of 'History of Texas from its first settlement in 1685 to its annexation to the United States in 1846 ... With an extended appendix [containing Memoir of Ellis P. Bean, etc.]' Via Flickr.

David Schaefer

David Schaefer lives in Austin with his dog Juliet. His work can be found in Forklift, Hobart, Bridge, and elsewhere.