When I First Saw You Again

I will admit that seeing my replacement,
Wearing no protection against scratches,
Brought me the closest to corruption
I have been during these seven, pregnant years.

When I removed my own cap it had clung on with age.
I removed it because I had truly believed
That something, some image, had remembered.

It had been an act I was unwilling to commit,
Removing my cap –
I wasn’t sure whether it would be right
For me to do it.
Was I not unsighted for a reason unfathomable?
For a reason not do with me?

As I say, it was an image that led me to do it;
An image that, for a long time, I had seen
Myself in –
I know this is impossible, please do not
Show me.

This image, I had known, was surely a face,
A face unquestionably. A face that I had now worn,
But that had belonged to another.
A face that I had carried on loving,
Beyond all recognition.

It was in this face that I
Saw what I knew, and realised that
what I knew was more than
I could see.

I at least knew that our face must
Have a window through which
To see itself,
To view itself in the way that I had done,
In a way that trembled in its
Stopping and holding and keeping.

In fact, most shameful of all,
I know now that I don’t think
I removed my cap;
I think I removed my face,
Entirely against your always better judgement,
And for that, Rosie,
I am forever, unforgivably, sorry.

As long as I hold these memories,
Which I understand, most horribly,
Are not those of my own,
I will regret that
Our love was but a meeting,
Stored up in image and sound,
For some later use again.

I hope you will realise how much
This prospect killed me.

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