“Our Neruda” by Mike Bove

Mike Bove

OUR NERUDA

My mother gave me a book
of Neruda’s poems
with a beautiful inscription
and when I got mad
I tore it out, sold the book
in a yard sale. Christ,
I wish I hadn’t done that.
Not for Neruda
but for her,
for that inscription
as the last part of her,
last evidence
of her influence and care.
Neruda wrote with green
ink as a symbol
of private hope and desire.
Halfway between duty and desire
I lay awake trying to remember
what she wrote, something
about lasting love
and the slow grind of years apart,
something beautiful,
but I’ve said that,
something I’ll never
remember because
I tore out the page,
sold the book
in a yard sale.
And now every day
feels like a torn page,
like my Neruda in a stranger’s hands,
so each morning I write
a new inscription
on my mind’s first page:
always beautiful,
always in green.

from Rattle #47, Spring 2015

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Mike Bove: “The older I get the more important poetry becomes. So many of us forget the wonder of the world as we age, forget the strangeness of common things in the face of routine familiarity. The poetry I love always restores that wonder, and I try to be mindful of that when I write.”