Your vowels
pull reluctant lips into something shy,
vague, like the shadow of a coy smile,
linger like light across dark in dying eyes,
the fierce final breath hitches in the throat
somewhere between tension and laughter,
the ecstasy that comes after, fills
spaces in my bones that you used to dwell
in with your presence, your height,
your temper, your essence.

I rewind the rhythm of your voice
and hear in that empty shell
something that whispers like a guilty prayer,
sense something that still lives
in the flush of your pumping heart
as it steps steps steps around your chest.
In all this time, I never understood
how imperfect love can be, never paused
to spot the cracks that creep like poison ivy
into cold, apathetic hearts.

The stars still scatter themselves
across the sky like litter
left on canvas streets,
trace the horizon with bright, tiny feet,
ignore my wishes and
fall to oblivion.
Your words, in the same reckless abandon,
leave themselves hard, calloused, cold,
on the ground, without meaning, life or sound,
hesitating to self-destruct and implode
before me.

You always underestimated the effect
you had on my mind. Your laugh,
now as alien to me as unfamiliar roads
splayed in the dark, reverberates between worlds,
echoes, call and reply both as strange to the other
like twins, separated, frustrated
by that missing entity
that should live with the hole is.

The consonants, frayed,
spit from your hot tongue,
scald me, and while you pass by,
casual, just a silent ship along
the sea line so distant, so perfect
it seems surreal,
my own words and intentions
clog in my teeth, my throat,
won't let me breathe,
until with wild despair,
the anger in me sheers my serenity.

I am in deep, deep (shit)
love with you.

The minor fractures in our bond
crack, depart like earth in a quake -
seven years bad luck for such a break
and no object or liquid
can seal the chasm.
We are broken, detached, forever
and can not be put back together.

Nothing of yours will ever be mine.
Even your sweet lies, your toxic mouth,
your swollen ego, pool at my feet like holy water,
shining like pearl-tears,
tempting me to dive.
You can drown in so little water.
Get burned at the lick of the tiniest flame.
Your secrets, insecurities,
dissolve like brush in a wildfire,
take flight, soar higher
than my charred fingers can reach.
Your words -
their vowels and consonants -
have nothing left to say or teach.
Spent, they flutter like ash
and drift away on the wind.

I can not love you any more;
this midwinter is our last.
The open future marks
the closure of our pasts.
Your heart, it steps steps steps
like the footfalls of a rumoured ghost,
trails away, becomes nothing but
remembered life. Love is dead, tranquilised,
and so blissful.

Shaunna Harper's picture

Shaunna Harper lives and works in the UK, and is an avid writer of both prose and poetry. She has had poetry, short stories and a novel, Homelands, published.

Last updated February 11, 2014