À la recherche du temps perdu (For Lauren, 2012)


This morning I found the first marginalia
in the book you left me: “Sexual addiction,”
you underlined, a warbling scrawl,
“has been described as ‘the athlete’s
foot of the mind.’ It never goes away.
It is always asking to be scratched, promising
relief. To scratch, however, is to cause pain
and to intensify the itch.”

I pop the hood of my Sable, removing the
pine needles. It’s been a year since I left
Raleigh, and they rode with me—
browned and brittle, hidden, menacing.

Bon Iver plays this early Autumn morning
as I drive South. Condensation on my back
windshield, bergamot and vanilla in my lungs.
They pierce me, driving me to Bear Island,
where I will seek out our ghosts, the ones
I have refused to treat.

I have grieved you. I give you
to the sea. I ask its salt to preserve
you—to embalm your morning moans and
that muggy July evening, my whispersong in your ear.

by Jesse Potts