I don’t remember much about our first apartment.
a beautiful old stone planter
taller than I yet un-looming
a wonderful pale gray
fleurs de lis in bold carving on the side.
it housed the hydrangea bush
its blushing petals in the venetian sunlight
beams glancing past and off the tv screen:
it becomes an artifact,
an antique curiosity among the wicker
a worn idol in an ancient tomb.
I begin to excavate.
the spring street bookstore
holding both (!) of my parents’ hands
in radiant sun and post-rain haze
when the wood and brick wore the damp’s perfume.
strange mystic symbols in the cafes
crescent moons with long-lashed eyes
cubist figures on neat brown bags of coffee
pigeons loitering outside.
I dig further.
strangely cinematic in their youth.
neighbors sitting cross-legged in the living room
all of them wine-drunk, bubbling
ruddy affection daubed on their cheeks.
adoration in the coos of caretakers.
gripping a door frame and peeking through
each entrance a portal,
awed by small things like oddly shaped keyholes.
I’d peer through them, size up the room
eyes flitting behind such odd filters
not unlike memory, that strange egress
with its claustrophobic periphery,
pinhole vision which at once
magnifies and obfuscates.
my arms are getting tired
the artifacts become more obscure,
fewer and further between.
I stop digging.
memory deludes as much as it reveals,
is something that occurs to me as I pack up my site,
set down my tools and make some final archaeological notes.
but I cherish these vague vignettes,
all the blurred edges
and their improbable beauty.