Admit it. You return to your past because you
have gained some kind of knowledge to interpret it:
the titanium device with its four pins meticulously
buried in your skull, sunlight from the window
reflecting off its edges to cast fractured lines of light
across your chest and across your hospital bed,
these rays of light appearing to beam from this metal ring
around your head (like a goddamned angel), or
how when your nurse flicks it with his plastic pen
it vibrates in a key you cannot yet name. Call it
the key of metal, of titanium, of shiny misfortune.
Admit it, the present is awfully dull and will remain so
until many years later when it comes miraculously
into focus, when you understand all four meanings
of the word regret. So it is you go back, armed now
with this word halo, word rife with what
you have learned about how angels were depicted
in Renaissance painting, the ring or rings of light painted
by the old masters so as to hover lightly around the head.
And how can you not see with this knowledge, knowing
as you do now about those terrible wings you keep
and continue to keep secret? Some would argue
we keep secrets because we cannot help ourselves.
But what if secrets are kept simply because we have yet
to make sense of what really happened?
The moon in latest afternoon, just days ago, hid
a segment of the setting sun, and there before us a mandorla
without even a faint sketch of a god or angel beneath it.
Admit it, I am not alone: things beg for significance.
Would that we always had time to come back to them...
appeared originally in The Paris-American