I loved your searchlight eyes, your storybook golden hair,
the scent of lavender wafting from the harem of your bed.
I remember the candles burning like your eyes, and the
sound of laughter over sea-tart oysters. The rich river mud
was slow and warm, like your voice. Now the candles burn
low with impatience, and the telephone sits expectantly, white
and forgotten, where you no longer call. I wait to the hold-music
of foghorn dial tones and remembered conversations, without
your shadow, your scent, the curve of your smile to guide me.
My eyes could not see the truth even as they sought you.
I knew it in the cold North Sea of my subconscious, where the
wave of marrow-deep truth burst onto shore. You remain
countries and waters away from where I sit. The shock is not
the residual pain of you, my phantom limb, being torn from me.
With your tongue tasting like fruits with long, romantic names
and native garb wafting about your sand-golden feet, I leave you.
Inspired by W. B. Yeats
You were drawn to her compelling vivacity,
captivated by the spirited gleam in her eyes.
She knows you to your very bones.
She will tear you apart and pick them clean,
leaving them shining and scattered,
a shaman’s divination.
Later, will you climb upstairs in the dark,
desolate and seeking sympathy,
a single, symbolic candle throwing shadows
on the wall, and come to me, an afterthought?
Would you tell me that my eyes are like topaz
or compare my mouth to ripe fruit?
I am swollen with your own potential,
teetering on a precipice over the sea.
While I wait, the moon ticks toward retrograde.
When the last grain of sand clears the hourglass,
you will lose me, the child-melon of my stomach
rising like a red balloon, a dream on a string.
The clandestine moon might have an answer.
I could consult the cards, the ghosts,
my moon-belly smooth and swollen as new fruit.
Everything is haunted.
No matter how well-scrubbed or polished,
invisible truths remain; the dust of past lives
embedded into the box’s wood grain.
A box is a symbol, a metaphor, a noun.
It is trinket, tool, secret-keeper,
the lid worn smooth as a stone
by whispering fingertips.
The box is fragile, splintering with age,
its yellowed wood the color of a number-two pencil,
a reliquary for pressed flowers and curls of hair.
Or was the box put to a more prosaic purpose,
a receptacle for handwritten sales slips,
hairpins, heirloom brooches, or gloves with buttons
that glisten pearly as a fish’s eye?
Enclosed are written testaments, prophecies
dotted with smudges where the fountain pen leaked.
Words are knives exposed in cold air,
inked onto pages now musty with time
and the lonely hint of a lingering perfume.