It was like walking through your neighborhood one snowy night with a new friend who’d lived there years ago, watching him point to long-gone stores and restaurants that used to make up the streetscape.
It was like feeling dismayed by this inscription of your new friend’s perfected past all over the present, perfected and erased, except in the theater of his mind, all over the actual snowy streetscape, with its actual storefronts.
It was like trudging silently down the snowy street with the new friend pointing to long-gone storefronts, dismayed by the theater of the past drawing its blue velvet curtain over the present, as the snow erases both.
It was like sensing you won’t see the new friend again, and realizing that every hour is a theater of victory or failure of the inscription of a present. You have just lived through an hour of failure, snowed under by the perfect past.
Donna Stonecipher is the author of three books of poems, most recently The Cosmopolitan (2008, winner of the National Poetry Series). A fourth, Model City, is forthcoming from Shearsman in 2015. She lives in Berlin.