Matthea Harvey

That Was the First Day & We Never Forgot It

Our questions started small: why was the radio warm when we came home, why did the souffle fall not once but thrice? At noon the sun shone as per usual, but there were moon-glints on the garbage lids. On the train rain began to fall among the silver poles and onto our heads—we didn’t see the man in the corner clutching a rosebush, couldn’t know that its roots were remembering. That was the first day & we never forgot it, never forgot anything ever again. Within minutes the minimalists had all gone mad. Graffiti artists grumbled, carried whitewash with them. The neighbor’s obstinate child chequers my lawn with small white squares—Polaroids she’s taken & hurled over the hedge. The cardinals hop backwards from boxwood to boxwood. Today I ducked under the tent-flap of an abandoned bigtop & watched elephants swell from their tracks in the sawdust. I remembered the acrobats & they remembered their nets. But what of the tightrope walker tiptoeing to the supermarket, the clown who can’t seem to get his face clean? Sweet one not beside me holding last year’s cotton candy, the past is sticking fast. The beaches are sprouting fossil upon fossil & last night at the opera, the spotlight wouldn’t stay still. These are the rules I adhere to—one painting per museum, dinner one day, dessert the next. I wish I could see just you.