Touch: The Journal of Healing


The Past Is Concealed In Doubt

    by Gregory W. Randall

Tonight, in the living room, 

with the dog sprawled at our feet, 

dark windows reflect back our 

selves in lamplight, gesturing 

in silence like ghosts.

Our past together seems 

shrouded—flashbacks venturing out

like skiffs in a slithering fog, scrimmed 

and directionless. 

Tonight, we envy the dog his memory

which only clicks into place 

like puzzle pieces 

at the first smell of my sleeve,

which then dissolves and evaporates

as soon as I’ve gone.

What it must be like 

not to ruminate, 

to exit a hospital and, afterward, 

no blood draws 

or pain levels 

or quarrels with doctors and family

would linger to taunt us.

It’s become a luxury to focus 

on ordinary things: disheveled peonies, 

cracks in a wall, blue hydrangeas 

dried and arranged in a white pitcher. 

Somewhere around these objects 

must lurk the whereabouts of our prior selves.

They say intelligence is a function 

of retrievable memory. So tonight 

on the couch, we sniff each other’s sleeves.

© 2010 Gregory W. Randall

Gregory W. Randall majored in English and Latin at St.Olaf College and spent innumerable hours in the music library. Classical music by composers such as Sibelius and Brahms continue to inform both the structure and pacing of his poetry. His chapbook, Double Happiness, won the Fifth Annual Camber Press Chapbook Contest as judged by Mark Doty and is forthcoming in late 2010. His chapbook, A Room in the Country, will be published by Pudding House Press in 2010. He is a recipient of the Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Prize for 2008 and a finalist for the 2008 White Pine Press book award. His recent work appears or is forthcoming in The Bitter Oleander, CQ, Cream City, GW Review, Louisiana Literature, Louisville Review, Pedestal, Rosebud, Southern California Review, South Carolina Review, Sow’s Ear, Stand, and other noted journals. Greg owns a financial planning practice in Santa Rosa, CA where he and his wife host the Londonberry Salon a quarterly celebration of poetry in their home.


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Touch: The Journal of Healing

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