whatever it is we remember, we’ll remember this

The last lights of summer (Little Italy, Toronto, August, 2015)

The last lights of summer
(Little Italy, Toronto, August, 2015)

whatever it is we remember, we’ll remember this
Nokyoung Xayasane

whatever it is we remember
we’ll remember this
that once we were happy
and we held on to some sort of belief
in something beyond our bedroom walls
we once strained against the glass
that looked out onto the world
and we hoped for magical nights
when the air was warm but the wind was cool
when we gathered with friends underneath Christmas lights
that sparkled
even though it wasn’t Christmas

whatever it is we remember
we’ll remember a time
when we were young and beautiful
the world bowed to us
everything was possible, attainable
everything could be measured by the span of our hands
we held the world in our palms and
swung high into the air

the stars pushed out above
the songs from our childhood
our singing was no longer a form of helplessness
we remembered that once we knew nothing
and we still don’t
at least, at least
we are no longer afraid
at least we are full of wonder still
and the lights that glittered on that patio
that night
in that city we called home

we remember we loved and were loved
and all of it meant something
if only for a little while
if only for a brief moment
and we’ll remember nights
when time was within our grasp
but we lost it all the same
we spoke in fake British accents
in 24-hour phở restaurants
we held on to some kind of freedom
that was fleeting but we held on nonetheless

what we know now is this:
we’ll always be okay
we are sometimes surprised when
we hear our voices lifted above the tumult of noises
the traffic careening down streets that led to places
we thought we would never see
but stepping out into the street the wind lifts
our hair sticks to our lips
our bodies are nothing more than
air and dust and bone and breath

what we are we know
this will always last for us
what we know is time will stand still for us
but we wander nonetheless
we wander nonetheless

(August 2015)

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