It could be the shape of your nose
or the way you touch it when nervous
or a certain maternal openness around the eyes
or the way forehead and eyebrows combine in a squint when thinking
or an open mouthed apprehension joined with a certain flare
at the center of the lips that fly away with spread wings
or it could be a pensive posture that folds in upon itself in introspection
lost in thought waiting for what will happen next
or then standing laughing head back amused both with and at
a world both lustrous and confused, wondrous and pained

It could be just a scent or even something beyond smell
we don’t even have a name for

It could be how we’ve almost always known each other
and certainly know people no one else remembers

It could be just the way a face looks so relaxed in sleep just like a baby’s face
hand under chin, thumb out waiting to be sucked

It could be just a phantom memory that yet means so much more
than any solitary sensation, a whorl in the genetic drift, a roll of the bones
of evolution, a moment that is forever


James Van Looy has been a fixture in Boston’s poetry venues since the 1970s. He is a member of Cosmic Spelunker Theater and has run poetry workshops for Boston area homeless people at Pine Street Inn and St. Francis House since 1992. Van Looy leads the Labyrinth Creative Movement Workshop, which his Labyrinth titled poems are based on. His work appears weekly in Oddball Magazine.