In my letter, I described the wooden boat
where we spent the summer.
It was like a toy in an enameled tub,
and you laughed at every wave that bumped it.
I think of this as if it happened twice.
But all order is imposed, even a calm day,
with three or more clouds, one for each sky.
When our scenery changed, you became
as a backdrop to this, as mountains,
or a thin and silver wall rising out of water.
This is not yet a memory, but a projection
of something else, a photograph, or a film.
When you first spoke of our sorrow,
the word was just a shadow.
Plato said to be on guard against this fiction.
But the fiction is always there.
My hands have touched its strange brick.
You spoke of uncertainty as if it were a nest. You gave me
its guarded beauty. It was a gold cup. It was a lake.
I could drink or drown there, but you caught me
looking at a crowd gathering on the shore. They were speaking
only your name. When they left, the scene darkened.
Is it enough to say that we kept watch? In another sentence,
a hidden machine replaces the word green for darling,
but this is the story of the lake and cup. I am in it as someone
writing. You are like the green curtains that open or close.
Jonathan Minton lives in central West Virginia, where he is a Professor of English at Glenville State College. He is the author of the poetry collections Technical Notes for Bird Government (Telemetry Press, 2018), In Gesture (Dyad Press, 2009), and Lost Languages (Long Leaf Press, 1999). He is the editor of the journal Word For/Word (www.wordforword.info).