The 2River View 17.4 (Summer 2013)

A. Molotkov

from Time and Absence

eighteen people died as I wrote this line
may someone remember them

let's count silences
let’s share absence
on the vast snow field
of life’s empty page
our words
are grains of sand
how much sand does it take
to defeat entropy?
and yet
we are a story
that took fourteen billion years
to write itself
and I wonder
about all that sand
all that snow
a melody
doesn't exist all at once
we hear a memory
enjoy an absence
we pretend that the past
is a living reference
that the moments
comprising our lives
make sense as a whole
that a note ago
we were the same
that a song
feels our presence
that a chord
struck at birth
still rings true when we die
we believe that a melody
remembers us

I unfold the ocean
and let it spread
over the table
the future
doesn't bother me
you are floating there
on a boat
too small to see
I become one of those
who watch you from the distance
let me know if the years we have
are enough for us
can I express absence
more vividly
than by keeping silent?
I fold the distance in half
and then in half again
until you’re close
I stay awake
while you answer

the sand
the snow
I draw a few continents
on a paper napkin
and those who live there
don't realize how flimsy their ground is
can you refresh all my memories
at once?
can everything explode
in slow motion?
say nothing in my mind
keep your distance
in my worst case scenario
I die
as I write this last word

A. Molotkov has had poems recently accepted by Kenyon Review, Mad Hatters Review, and Word Riot. Molotkov serves on the Board of Directors of the Oregon Poetry Association. He co-edits The Inflectionist Review. contactwebsite