Restored to Blue

and the famous cloud
she wiped away
with the wrong solvent…
Inadvertence, when the mind, distracted by the sun
playing in the leaves, slips, destroys the work.
As if the work were meant to stay, the days
not on a string that each night cuts, and only
memory, which fades, and other bits of matter
carrying order in their cells (give or take a broken
chain or two, a mutant moment in a copy-cat
world)—only these remain. While what we are,
the lived-in days, the irreplaceables we love,
these—like the famous cloud, though painted
by a master’s hand (long gone)—are wiped away
by solvent time, an endless surf, a changing shore.
So much for restoration’s care, the delicate brush,
restraint in the retouching, all the shoring up,
the dutifully kept files that one day soon will fill
recycle bins—such things are everyday and are
not news. So look away, or look: today the sky
is cloudless as a canvas used exclusively for blue,
and filling in the blanks seems nothing more
than a sport, a game to leave behind, a way to keep
the mind from knowing that the blanks, though
time and time filled in, return: a cloudless sky
we’re meant to read as happiness, and so we do.

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