Forgetting So Fast

comments 31

Hafiz and I were up
on the widow’s walk
beneath a flaming sky
prancing to and fro,
lunging, parrying,
regaling the light with
our imagined swordplay
when his foot slipped
unexpectedly on a pebble
some bird had set there as a gift
and my blade plunged
into his belly and he gasped,
and tumbled off the edge of the roof.

I found him draped
over the hedge with his leg
cocked behind his back
and I nudged him
but his body was cold
so I went into the house
and prepared him a cup of tea
but his leg was cocked
behind his back and his eyes
were fixed on nowhere
and he obviously didn’t drink it
and the next morning
he was still there
with butterflies sleeping
on his dew-soaked pant leg.

The sun moved across the sky that day
like a tanker crawling up the river
and a blackbird landed on Hafiz’ head
and sang a dirge
and I began to weep and to wonder
what we were really doing up there
and if I’d actually killed the man.

By nightfall I felt a mighty blackness
and a blanched wondering about all
the days we’d spent together and
what this world really was and
my coffee tasted like dirt and
my breathing became labored
and I felt the pain of having fouled-up
so many things and there I was,
caught holding the bag of it all
wondering how sore I would be
after I dug the grave
and if I could really do it.
Do any of this.

In the middle of the night I went out
to check on him but he was gone,
and then I saw him crouched in the field
near a cluster of deer
who were feeding on the leaves of small trees
where the meadow met the forest
as if all of time was in each sprig
and in their skin and their bodies
and the gentle knowing
that ripples their skin when the wind shifts
and then he stood, and the moon shone
on his back, and he walked into the trees.

And I wept, of course,
and I thought if you want to love
really love
then sometimes you have to let your games
open you up and stand you alone
in the space of your own life
and see what you feel when no one is looking
and I went inside and made a cup of tea
and that’s when I found the note.

I haven’t seen you in days
and I’ve been looking all over
in the laundry room and under the couch
and in that dark space
under the basement stairs,
so I’ve gone to get some friends
to try and wake you from this dream.

Smile, you nut, so we can find you.

PS – I left an air horn on the roof
that could wake a saint from the dead
but I guessed you missed it.


  1. I’m reminded of games of youth when we thought we were immortal and how we find out we are not and sometimes hurt the ones we love. Experience is hard and sad sometimes, but then there are the deer, quiet and soft and the moonlight on his back as he walks into the trees. (I love that scene.) Maybe we have to go through these times of loneliness and searching to learn that it’s going to be okay and someone is searching for us.

    Liked by 5 people

    • There do seem to be natural rhythms to life and to the waxing and waning of our energy and attention. I like the memory you shared, thinking of those times before we knew any different. Why wouldn’t we live forever? And then how we end up somehow hurting others sometimes when the pain catches up to us. It’s all wrapped up in this human question somehow–the question of where we place our attention, our faith, our trust. It helps when we’re able to remain aware of the eternity in every moment…


      Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow, Michael, this poem for me was so sad and at the same time brought some peace to me. I am still reading it and crying. What a timing…. My best local friend here just had a heart attack last night. I had a bad dream a couple of days ago about him crashing into a canyon. And now we are all on pins and needles waiting for him to recover in a hospital… It hits us in the face somehow, reminding us here and there with those tiny enormous bits we have here…
    “Smile, you nut, so we can find you”. 🙂 Smile, Michael. ❤
    Blessings and Love to you, and thank you for the poem.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Hi Kristina, I’m glad it brought you some peace as well. Your whole week sounds fairly intense and there is certainly enough sensation of loss in this piece to pull that to the fore I think. And really interesting timing for sure. I hope the recovery goes well, and everyone is able to find that moment in between the other moments when a smile is the most natural gift to offer.

      Love to you, too.

      Liked by 1 person

      • 🙂 Thank you, Michael. I am still savoring this poem. It was so good to see Hafiz back in action, and I love the mystery throughout and the spaciousness that opens up at the end of this piece! The images – swords, leg, dew, butterfly, blackbird and deer, tea, and air horn – and the action are so perfect. This poem made me think back to my favorite cartoon from childhood, based on Astrid Lindgren story, Karlsson on the Roof:
        In the story, a little boy who is lonely befriends the flying funny Karlsson (nobody else can see him) and they have adventures on the roofs of the Stockholm buildings.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. makes me happy, Michael!
    really, those friends of yours, hmmmm!
    with friends like that
    how can one help
    but not have enough
    conditions to love!
    and in the end
    the love you take
    is equal to the love
    you make (i borrowed that part from friends) 🙂

    Liked by 5 people

    • What wonderful friends we all have, David! So full of wisdom and encouragement. Turning our dreams of despair into moments of connection and warmth. A friend can be like a light on the horizon, the knowing that the empty plains don’t continue forever, that there is a place built out of sticks somewhere, with people inside, playing instruments and telling tales. Gathered closely. And when you see that light somehow you’re already there, even if you’re still leagues away, alone in the grass. Just one little moment can carry us for miles…


      Liked by 1 person

  4. This jumped straight to mind as I finished reading Michael;

    ‘In a Wonderland they lie,
    Dreaming as the days go by,
    Dreaming as the summers die;

    Ever drifting down the stream–
    Lingering in the golden gleam–
    Life, what is it but a dream?’ – Lewis Carroll.

    A nice piece you have there, that slips between realities and dreams, highly enjoyable, and touching too.

    – Esme waving upon a dreamy Cloud

    Liked by 4 people

    • I loved the image of the butterflies on Hafiz’s wet pant leg – that sense that the friends are all the energies and creatures surrounding. I really feel the kami in this poem! There’s this immense love that collects itself in the oddest of places, anywhere it can get in. I’m sad 😭 about losses for others, and for ongoing trials, and though grieving takes time, the air horn wake up call reminds me that we already live in eternity with its miracle of formless-forms. Btw, my phone changed the intended text “mirade” into miracle and I thought you might appreciate that…

      Liked by 3 people

      • Hello Ka, you must have a smart phone. A very smart phone, indeed.

        While the air horn is not always an appropriate instrument of revelation, there certainly are moments when it helps to be awoken from our slumber, and sometimes those are not the moments we would have wanted, or the decibel level we would have wanted them to be, but all the same… we remember. There is that love collecting where it can. For sure. That’s the kami, right!? (Had to look that one up!)

        Thank you for reading and sharing.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Esme! Glad you enjoyed it, and I love the lines from Mr. Carroll. We’re slipping through realities for certain, I think, flying in and out of the Cloud and its misty outer banks, its colossus of translucent vapor that is, to light, a playground of immense proportions. A maze that goes on forever. A dream…

      Waving back, Esme! Have a nice weekend–

      Liked by 1 person

  5. to go from fun play to sobering reality of darkness….although you waited knowing Hafiz would never leave you but just the idea that perhaps this time he wouldn’t come back, sending you into the spiral of sadness….many metaphors could be concocted from this but ultimately love shines through along with peace and nature, the deer doing their deer thing in the glade, the serenity of walking into a forest and the knowledge that even with butterflies standing by to administer wonder and grace, we are never alone. Peace and blessings my sweet friend and welcome back from the forest….missed you ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Dear Michael.
    May the airhorn be at the ready for all and all “time”. Some say dreams are more real than reality, but what is “reality” anyway?

    keep keeping on my friend,
    peace, Linda

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, may we find the airhorn where it is least expected. And realize, again, the dream can change for us. I’m with you about the sublime merging of dreams and reality. Reality is the fabric, and dreams are the pattern we make from it I think. And we do spin some crazy patterns sometimes, but always at the very end of them, there is someone like Hafiz, with an orange cone on the end of a flashlight, waving us into the parking space in front of our own home. And we wonder where we’ve been exactly… 🙂

      Blessings, Linda.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Walking My Path: Mindful Wanderings in Nature says

    Oh, Michael. This one really touched me deeply. Of course, they all do, but this one especially. So many layers and levels in it that for me, is beyond words. Although you seem to have the perfect words for all of this – whatever THIS is. Such depth in the game/dream here in this life. Your words are so inclusive of all these layers. And the humor and comfort along with all that is beautiful. So beautiful.

    I was about to quote some of the lines that stand out for me, but they all do. Every word feels stratified with symbolism making an exquisite pattern to rest in the heart.
    With love and gratitude,

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thank you, Mary. I appreciate your heartfelt response and the way you see what is inside of things and how it all folds together–whatever this is… Sometimes there’s a feeling of writing without effort and this had that for me. And I felt somehow the layers even if not consciously. How they arise and settle back into the depths, and we feel them rising in us. We’re like beaches the water climbs up and then back down and each time something new floats to the surface…! (Maybe it’s the moon doing that tonight. Ha!)

      Much Love, my friend!

      Liked by 2 people

  8. It’s all so beautiful, the departures and reunions. I love how you are often exploring these intimate themes in metaphor in such vivid and playful ways. Someone dug up one of my posts from 2014 and commented – and when I went back there, I was visiting someone who more seemed an old friend than what I would call me. How wonderful this game is, where hafiz can pop in and out, showing us that we are never sunk into anything like mud, but we can fly out from every angle. we don’t need hafiz to hang about in body; we can also zoom and zap in and out – to fields of butterflies and deer and flowers. I often forget to look on the roof. I think I will make it my new spot for daily tea. will be a good launching pad. xx!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you, M! I didn’t realize I had comments yet on this post… It is interesting when we go back isn’t it? I look back and wonder sometimes who wrote some of these things. It’s fascinating really. We really are a sort of tapestry–made of every angle as you said so well–a tumbling architecture of idea and being and response. We respond even to ourselves don’t we? It’s beautiful to share, and be part of one another’s becoming…


      Liked by 1 person

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