As the Days Pass
by Theodora Goss
As the days pass, as we talk less and less,
you seem more and more like someone I made up,
a bedtime story to keep away the dark,
a bulwark against the night that is coming on
so insistently, on furred black feet, like a cat,
so affectionately, like death, rubbing itself
against my shins, asking to be picked up
and settled on my lap.
You were a storybook prince, or a pirate ship.
You were a forest in which I used to wander.
You were a tune that played whenever I felt
despair or loneliness. Sometimes you became
a lucky coin that I carried in my pocket.
I lost it somewhere, perhaps as I walked through the city.
Perhaps you are lying on some icy sidewalk,
shiny side upward. You were a magic potion
that tasted like raspberry cordial.
If I made you up, how did I manage to do it?
Did I sculpt you out of clay, or stitch you from leaves?
Or what is more likely, since it is February,
did I make you out of snow, a living snowman?
No wonder you are starting to disappear,
as inevitably as spring replaces winter.
Soon, perhaps, you will melt away altogether
and I will be left standing in a puddle
of brackish water on the damaged asphalt,
staring at my own reflection, behind me
only the bare branches of an oak tree
against the empty sky.
(The image is Rippled Surface by M.C. Escher.)