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  • Jude Hopkins

Poem: "How We Once Moved" — Published in California Quarterly Vol 35. No. 3



Over a cup of instant tea,

you told me you were married,

somewhat content, a father and a teacher.

I suppose such a rendering — given that, together,

we had burned through youth's fat and muscle —

deserved more than the chipped mug I handed you,

now resting on the sideboard.

This bone-white cenotaph to your last kiss,

misplaced on its unyielding lip,

serves as a constant reminder

that unlike the stilled lovers and unheard pipers

wrapped around the ancient urn

I have known you

I have heard the music

yet as host to the worm of yearning

having nothing to show for it

but the last thing you touched.

I interlace my fingers on the cup

bringing it to my lips

longing to quicken its hollowed-out names

and immovable date of death

and feel it squirm in my hands.

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