To All Who Say Goodnight

There is a picture of a girl in the hall
backlit, shrouded
never closer to holy than when safely hidden from god
radiating the sort of peace that only comes from pain
having tasted prayer on his lips
having inhaled
having held

one beat
And it is that lost second you will recall
long after the frantic faceless
have pushed their way through the door
all at once, loath to be delayed
in their mad parade of anonymity
Thus will the cotton blends in their silk nooses
go on digging early graves
on the lottery odds chance they might see it first
when all anyone ever wants to know
is who saw it last

You say goodnight like you’re drowning
and pass her in a space too narrow
to avoid the brushing of skin
She smiles the same smile; you flip the switch
and in the honest darkness resolve to tell her
-someday soon-
how you have committed to memory everything she is
when all she’s ever wanted
is for someone to remember her better than she was