Involuntary Memory

the blue sweep of that lyric, calling everything back—
Rainraia crystalline pitch-shift, rich and rapid

RainraiRainraias the snap of a nylon line, a kite flaring like a pilot light
RainraiRainrairainrainin the cobalt gut of the sky, and you hanging onto it,

perfect. every meadow a mythic green, lit neon
Rainraiby late-August condensate, and the Oakland blocks vacant

RainraiRainraiexcept for us, wandering in step, time reeling skyward
RainraiRainrairainrainwith untenable speed. when you held me,

I flattened into panic, knowing the moment
Rainraifrom before language, seeing, as if through roiled water,

RainraiRainraihow it had already come to an end. I proceeded anyway, staring
RainraiRainrairainraininto the black glass of the canal, through which

I would have jumped, had you asked, like an idiot dog
Rainraithrough a paneless French door, or like the synthesizer now whining

RainraiRainraiinto a new and desperate register, dredging up
RainraiRainrairainrainthat walk through your indifferent city, our goodbye

without touching, your return to the woman
Rainraiwho didn’t know my name. in my room,

RainraiRainraiI rinse the song until it drains of meaning. outside,
RainraiRainrairainrainblurring the stoplights, a radio-static rain.

Clare Flanagan is a Brooklyn-based poet, music writer, and night owl. Raised in Minnesota, she recently relocated from San Francisco to New York City, where she is a Wiley Birkhofer fellow at NYU. Her poems and reviews are published or forthcoming in Poetry Online, the McNeese Review, and Treble Zine. In her free time, she enjoys reading, long-distance running, and listening to Charli XCX.