At the time he didn’t know it,
but stalking the radiant specter of morninglight
as he sprinted down a cobbled alley,
he left part of himself behind
in a jigsaw piece of puddle
that later, years later, he would reflect upon
and fit into his lifewash of memories.
He would cross that puddle again, this time slower,
and with deliberate intent, gazing upon
the boy running in place, his treadmill Innocence.
The boy was in no hurry,
his youth a portal to cloud-eating and sky-grazing.
He wanted to reach out to that boy, wanted to palm the mirage
for the briefest of flickers, but he knew that as soon
as his hand touched the water the image would dissolve
and the boy would be gone forever,
so he bore the exquisite agony of prolonged staring
from an immeasurably near distance.