“Before The Remembering” by Michelle Askin

 Gray towers of cinder through the hemlock trees
 along the highway railed in by metal.
 And it is twilight, and everything becomes
 a little aqua blue from the sky
 and neon the gas station glows along
 this rush hour. I am trying not to remember
 you. I am trying to tell myself
 I have gone a long way and not imagine you
 as I used to in every room of those towers.
 The cubicles where stellar equations that go
 past any moon you or I could ever know
 the name and radio emissions for.
 The years I knew you, I swear it was
 as though I lived in another place in time—
 a galaxy of astonishing auras and warming
 translucent ocean plasmas. I try not
 to remember pressing what was good
 from the earth to my lips or the skin
 of my palms in the foreign mart room
 with cinnamon sticks from Sri Lanka
 and rose extract from Egypt.
 I haven’t been there in ages, but I liked
 how it was with everything. The fragrance
 there and the chlorine pool water blended
 with gasoline and foamy car wash
 detergent, the budding blossom tress
 and walled garden pink and red geraniums
 moist late spring after a small rain
 in this city where I waited to meet you,
 in a district not so from here. City,
 where I have returned and must go again
 a long way from. I see you sometimes
 still in my dreams. I see you
 and it’s the realest thing in this
 all so watery world. 

Michelle Askin’s work has appeared or is forthcoming in Raleigh Review, Arkana, Willard & Maple, Fogged Clarity, Pleiades, Bending Genres, and elsewhere.