Temporal Loss

On a velvet table
slow billiard balls – click.
Clues pile up about a man we know
who is losing himself – entropy all round.
Downstream, in rubber boots we follow
these creeks, take paths that used to clearly cross
the certainties we hold.

We’ve heard his unshaven ideas, seen his stained shirts
mad scribbles, the clusters of fallen hair. He evades
us like a gusty wind sweeping leaves from the steps
of his home. The wet newspapers, house foundations
crooked. His kitchen counter
covered with old meals: dishes stinking, cutlery
plastic disposability. 

No turning away.
Sometimes, we feel
his ghost in tight orbit around our fears.
With chins upturned, we watch Banquo above the banquet.
He challenges us, his sisters and
hopeless brothers, blames us for his death –
while he lives.

The present, an unfunny joke –
while the past he knows is a rich tapestry of pleasure,
like a mouthful of fruitcake. Erect within himself
his wisdom hidden, his sins locked up
where they can do no harm.

We search the larger and longer spaces, our hands comb the air, 
then fall to our own responsibilities.

He is the silver bauble we let slip
from the broken necklace of our family.
Only at night, do we hear his dream-like rage –
the hollering of a lost hunter,
echoes of his former life.

Chris Pannell

Chris Pannell has published six books of poetry. His collection "A Nervous City "(released in 2013) won the Kerry Schooley Book Award the following year. His latest book of poetry, "Love, Despite the Ache", won Poetry Book of the Year from the Hamilton Arts Council. He is a former treasurer and board member for the gritLIT Writers Festival and a former DARTS bus driver. He has hosted and helped the Lit Live reading series in Hamilton for more than ten years.