Elegy to the Passing Moment – Dorinda Hardage

We used to spend summer afternoons carving out veins in the earth.
As we dug our way through the soil,
We knew that the story
Written on the palms of our hands would be
Pressed into the dirt like newsprint
And we knew that, in return,
The sun would brand the backs of our necks,
The tops of our cheeks.
We knew that that moment would never cease to exist,
Even after the river had burned into vapor.

And yet,
All I have to prove the mud river ever existed is
The freckle on my cheek tattooed there by the sun.
All my backyard has to prove that I ever carved my way through it
Is a patch of bare dirt under the myrtle tree.

Is that enough?
The truth I can never learn to accept is this:
That we can capture something as fleeting as a color or a sound
But we can’t capture the rapture of a winter sunset.
We can’t capture the moment of vulnerability before a quiet smile
Or the warmth of a hand resting on a shoulder.
We can’t capture moments in any way except this:
To translate a grainy memory into flimsy words.

Is that enough?

I live, forever carving out veins in the earth,
Forever in the moment before the smile,
Forever saying I love you for the first time
But only in story.
I wish to God I could take this moment and put it in a box
So that I could stick my hand into it at any moment
And feel,
How I felt today