I tick them off
on long-nailed fingers –
last year, the year before
so full of yearning, three years
ago so independent, four years
ago so stuck in something
I didn’t even know I wanted
to escape, the year before that
too far above the earth
to see clearly. This, I tell you,
is the value of holidays.
They are landmarks, ways
of seeing where we’ve been.
We were practically strangers
last Fourth of July, I’d dreamt
you without knowing it
the year before, any farther back
it would have been impossible.
I try not to look forward.
The past is safe – classifiable,
arrangeable, a story I can tell,
truth and lies and the unrelenting sweep
of years. I will not think
of next summer, I will hold you here
in the one year I know,
let the present be enough to celebrate.