One Prague Day


I wake in the glass morning cold and clear
drink my black coffee soul breakfast
on cold meat and pumpernickel bread
but can’t remember our last meal together

On the Vltava rowers slice water into ripples
of light that rush up to me like you
at the airport at the very last moment
running up to the last gate to kiss me goodbye

I cross the open fields that squeak with frost
the roads unsealed, trees still empty of the promise
of spring that seems so out of place:
I left when you still wore that cotton dress

Statues wake blink stretch into the new day,
begin the whispers of stone and bronze
that welcome the first trams through the city.
How many trams have we taken together?

All Prague’s buildings breathe permanent decay
bound by rust and the dust of history but
I would not have them fixed: from old walls
I see you turn your face to me and smile

Like my cognac dreams flying over the spires
lost like mist on the tongue no street stays straight
for long: all magic laughs around the next corner:
I half expect to bump into you in a rush

I conspire with the city’s spell: my heart squeezes
whole crowds through my veins, my bones
bridge all buildings, my eyes web all they see;
your spell is cast from the other side of the earth

The air so cold at midday the earth retreats, but
even winter cannot clear Charles Bridge of tourists.
I kid myself I am a traveller, that every step leads
back to you, so why take the first one away?

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