Exchange Place

Exchange Place

Across the river,
a collection of memories
in the city that used to be.
Only this sunshine is actually here.

Except for the hair and skin,
I seem the same person
walking streets unseen beyond
the horizon’s famous geometry.

I don’t need a mirror
to let me know
that my body is not
the same as that person
wandering that distant city.

We met at night, her face
emerging from a shadow.
Her shiny eyes, our extended kiss
in the blue-tinted glow
of the streetlamp beneath
the cloud-streaked moon.

But how long before now?
Is this memory from
a decade ago or a dream
with that same memory
I had just yesterday?

I can still believe in what I need,
forget most things I only want.
Imagine a universe above the sky
or the life contained
in the glimmer on the
water, glass and steel.

But the light I truly know
only appears to linger.
A summer afternoon promises
dusk will never return
and is always proven false.

Unlike the past,
the present can’t tarry.
If this moment wasn’t fleeting
it wouldn’t be now.

This pier I stand on
and that city I face
is only as forever
as humanity or civilization,
but I’m not concerned
about how old is
water or land or sky
or who was here
before that first cornerstone
was set in place or
in what nation when.

The only history I can verify is my own.
A reality that no longer exists,
even the photographs I’ve kept
are an imperfect glimpse
of what I saw, felt and learned,
just like the people
I met and the few I loved.

On this side, those near me
aim phones, capturing companions
backed by Manhattan.
Making our memory a fact,
regardless of what
each may see
years from now
when someone mentions
American rivers, American cities.

I wonder where they came from.
Do they live in a building
that is new or old,
or are they staying at the Hyatt
where muffled dance beats from
the outdoor lounge echo as
the horn from the luxury liner
leaving the bay bellows.

The present we share
— suddenly here, suddenly gone —
is only the same because
of this river and that city.
The past I am seeing
always sticks around
in the city that used to be
in the streets I used to walk
in a body still here
but never the same.

Time can only baffle,
gives no warning
so we never heed
why the now is ever-fading
while the then is everlasting.

Copyright 2018; Held by Author