Gris-Gris, an online journal of literature, culture & the arts
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The Song He Left Behind

by Darrell Bourque


I can’t recall just when the song began to take its shape

inside my head. I found myself some nights all alone

with nothing but this sound from who knows where, a cape

making a place for itself inside a bay. Some little thing I’d done


or heard come back to me in melody, the percussives so low

they were hardly there at all. Sometime it was Agnès turned

to sound, more prelude than song itself and as natural as flow

of breath on breath as she moved inside her life. What burned

brightly in both our ways translated here into residual glow,

something we hardly ever felt in our ordinary lives or yearned


for even as we did whatever it was we had to do. Now thin as crepe

it spreads inside my head. It’s not about where we’ve been or gone.

It’s not about the nights at sea or being lost or the endless scrapes

I lived by. But there it is fiddling its way into these fevered bones.