What absence means depends on what is gone,
what’s missing; but the figure of its wake
depends on what is left to carry on.
And though the boat itself, once it has drawn
its slashing silver line across a lake,
is absent, something’s left to show it’s gone.
That bright wound on the water hails the dawn
of afterwards, delineates the break
between before and what must carry on.
As water curls to seal the slit upon
its face, does that effacement then unmake
its meaning? That depends. What’s gone is gone;
once absence and its freight have undergone
their exile, nothing’s left that can forsake
whatever must remain to carry on;
but here’s the line that cannot be withdrawn:
a rippling gash, all silver and opaque.
Your absence hoards its meaning. You are gone,
and that is what goes on and on and on.