Summer 1985 • Vol. VII No. 3 A Poem |

Against the Meanwhile

To David St. John Point Nine I Memory—hardly through the dusk do the letters of that word break. A boy calls his brother. What the other boy walking home thinks tossing the white ball up from the mitt—           then catching it, the wandering present of the day's events that in twenty years will stray through the past the way twilight strays toward the end of a street then simply disappears like the aggregate shadow through leaves, or color of space beneath his bed.   I will never forget the first time I touched a leaf etched in stone. The faint stir like a wing through my spine. I pressed it hard against my cheek and hoped the mark would stay. In half an hour it had vanished.   Now, even the sand imprint   blurs on that fossil. Like history, we grow tired of things. And they grow tired of us.Near Pompeii, at the foot of Mount Vesuvius, lies Herculaneum, the small village, now museum, once buried in lava. A man and wife were found emb

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MARK IRWIN’s fifth collection of poetry, Bright Hunger, appeared from BOA in 2004. He teaches at the University of Southern California and divides his time between there and his home in Colorado.

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