Queen of Hearts

by Benjamin Saltman

Benjamin Saltman

Sit here beside me, there's smoke in the air.
Was it that to conceive of her was
to make myself unworthy? Then everything is simple
and self-defeating, and that ends it...
But as if a burnt-leaf smell was her hair
and as if sensing her brief powers of seduction,
she envisioned being stalked through October
from the beginning / and surviving as the gift
of a smooth body and with contempt for her own art.
And disappearing behind her yesses where no hand
could catch her true wrist, no kiss reach the corners
of her eyes or press her high cheekbones.
Not that she ducked attention
or changed her major or left town: her lovers
were a normal few, aggressive, incoherent, and
She gave them her unreal wrists and eyes and Los
Angeles tan.
She tried to see it their way / she would bring
great luck being bright and fabulous possession.
She could not have happened to me alone, I have been
And for those who lived with her she might as well
have been another woman. She lurked behind herself
whatever she offered. I can remember calmly
what I brought upon myself ever since I hedged
against her loss. "She's for me in every woman,"
I said almost from the first, lying, fearful and lying
as rain grew cold preparing winter and general sleep.
So now she can never be for me in anyone.


Last updated June 30, 2015