Memories of the Future — Elie Lichtschein

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In between your dreams of a world built
on the floors of lower worlds, where each ascent
is like the last turn in a forest of skeletal trees,
where you conjure up Shadowmen carrying
many souls, wings flapping on the royal routes
straight into the lightbulb of the moon, where you slip
into the back row of a college poetry reading
to visualize the droop of the Kodsho’s mustache as he
christens himself the ”Campuser Rebbe,” where passersby
on the Seven Floors of existence nod at each other,
acknowledging the skill of their fellow travelers,

you remember your wife, how indebted you are to her,
and as you return to your apartment with the slanting
mezuzah and lingering scent of mildew you never quite smell,
shuffle to the side of the room where her light burns bright,
it strikes you that yours is an inheritance of longing,
a curse to forever be homesick for a place you have never known.

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