In the Chambers of the End

by Gary Percesepe

for Janet


In days to come we'll speak of one lost

weekend in the Adirondacks.


Our bags unpacked and sitting

by the red Santa in the cluttered hall


we eat poetry with pancakes and

Vermont syrup, blueberries hand picked


that spring by a woman who called us

ideal guests because we never left the room.


Whiteface scarred above our heads,

the cloud-splitting mountain


bandaged in white cross stitches.

Tiny skiers look like beetles


on a white bedspread.

We watch them fall to earth from


the high peaks and tell ourselves

this is the week that sealed it,


the week we fought over a poem

and slept in separate rooms. Our run to


Paradise began the week you didn't come

and left me counting lines of poets in their youth.


Unwearied still, lover by lover,

They paddle in the cold


Companionable streams or climb the air;

Their hearts have not grown old.