A gallery of faces fills your mind, each one
a wave, and your dreams a slough of memory
that conjures up a row of heads on spikes of thought.
Each fills the present and binds you
to the past as to an unforgiving wall.
Then you go to the river looking for one
who’s only just left. You call and call
and the black swan comes without words; the place
between his wings is empty. Not time yet.
No matter how bereft or how much you want to go
you wait until the hour comes when you’ll
cross as we’ll all cross, eyes closed or open,
toward those who’ve gone ahead, those
you remember now as from a crumbling wall
that bids you turn and return to this world.