Beacon Hill


Beacon Hill

The coffee shop
Glows orange and warm,
And welcoming,
But not for me.
I walk this street alone tonight.
Another couple
Sits at the table
You and I shared a year ago.

(I remember you
ordering Linzer torte
from a waitress
who'd no idea what you meant.)

Across the street is the alley
Where you and I
Met in the dark one night.
Early for rehearsal,
Waiting outside an unyielding door,
I watched you appear:
A tall, slim figure
Approaching swiftly.

(The gray fedora on my head
brought a smile to your lips.
"I love your hat," you said.)

You walked as swiftly
As I'm walking now,
But you had no reason
To avert your eyes.
Nor had I.
Not then.

It seems I must always
Avert my eyes,
For the sight of you
Pains me now.
I am not yours.
You are not mine.
But on Beacon Hill
On crisp autumn nights,
Time is as frozen
As my breath in the air.

I look into that alley
As I pass by,
But there is no one
Waiting for me,
And at Church of the Advent
A new group expects me now.
I'm in a hurry.
No time to indulge.
If I think on you longer,
I'll surely cry.

Instead,
I keep walking,
En route to a church
Whose passages crawl
With memories,
Resigned to the knowledge
That though you are
Absent,
You are yet present,
For the ghost of memory
Trails behind,
Threaded
To my consciousness
Like Peter Pan's shadow.

***

C.P. Warner
2 March 1992


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