He rolled down the driver’s side
window, she tied back flyaway hair.
Tap-tap, tap-tap on the roof of the car
from the apple bowl of his pipe.
We studied the constellations
in the pinpricked back of his neck
or the found poem of her lipstick
(Fire & Ice, Tangee Pink)
as we passed nothing too strange
and nothing too beautiful—
although we knew even then
how strangely beautiful they were,
and they knew we’d dream their dreams
but wouldn’t love them for it, yet.
Tonight a sprinkling of stars sparks
the ceiling as I lie on their bed upside-down,
tiptoes-to-pillow, eyes and ears towing
toward the window where those who were there
are there yet, to shrink and expand us.
Why else remember,
why else love what we love?
Tap-tap, tap-tap on the roof of the car.
Ashes on my lips, ashes on my tongue.
Catherine Stearns has a book of poetry from New Rivers Press, The Transparency of Skin. Her poems also have been published in New Ohio Review, Yale Review, Poetry Daily, American Life in Poetry, and North American Review.