In Memory's Domain

By Diana Festa

Again in the approaching evening,
I see a thousand women holding
clocks at bay to capture
a last instant of a past that slides away.
I see those women straining as if pushing
a river in reverse, obstinate
against the appointed course.

I too, labor to keep alive days gone
in pristine geometry, to hold
memories before they surrender
to calendars, before they reach
a bank of mere regrets.

Nothing particular in my loss
or in the myriad wounds across the world.
Hidden behind doors, is the commonplace
of daily rituals — survival, denial,
at nothings, at tragedies, at life galvanized
in a gallery of images.

I rest my head on the table and see things
as in framed paintings,
the carafe of wine and the stain on the tablecloth,
the large bowl of oranges on a pedestal, vanishing
beneath the weight of my lids.

It is a moment of dream
where my ancestral place appears
in furrows of age familiar and unrecognizable —
chairs with tall backs and intricate patterns,
the smoky chimney with bundles of green boughs.

It is a place where I return dribbling
cobalt blue from my fingers, held
in curds of time, fused
with moments I keep intact.