Catching You

2004




The photo album sits with magazines and books
On a shelf under the coffee table.
I added some pictures today,
And flipped through casually...
Briefly reminding myself
Of birthdays and Christmases...
Too vague now to really remember...
Clothes, and haircuts, and jackets,
Skates, and bicycles, and cakes,
Friends, and family, nieces, sons,
An anniversary...
Smiles and tears.

Then you...
A quick click that caught you laughing...
A game of cards, a football pile-up,
A suit, a new hair cut, a trophy...
A Christmas...
Each one in different light
Or different expression...
Each one revealing your eyes
Or your smile, or your thinking,
Or... not revealing it.

I pulled out one of the photos
And looked at it sideways
Then upside down
Then just the eyes or mouth
Grasping at all you are
Putting pieces together
To make a whole.

A shadow, a curve, an angle
Might let me in...
Then... let me out again...
For each curve or profile
Changed in the light
The shape of the whole...
Like a butterfly that can't be caught...
Or a spirit that defies description...
Or an opal whose colors move in the sun.

The pictures can't grasp it.
It's only in your movements
That you can be seen...
A toss of the head...
A raising of your strong hand...
Your voice--
The life in you--
The life in you.

I put back the photo.
The book went back on the shelf.
I struggled-- still grasping
To catch all you are.
Can I really ever?
But the wonderful task it is in the doing.




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