by Shaunna Harper
The piano plays its parting score
as you lift your case like a child
and back out of the door.
For a greedy second, just one,
before we are done,
I picture you in the bath.
Dressed in my bubbles,
skin wet in candlelight,
totally emasculated and
with childish delight,
I never loved you more.
You’d mentioned Canada, New Zealand and Spain.
I wanted Brazil, New York and France.
That look you gave me, that pout and mock frown
that turned your eyes more blue than brown
made my heart dance, made me fall
harder, faster, in undeniable love with you.
We watched Chaplin make silent love all night;
The Kid, The Gold Rush, City Lights.
We drank your father’s whisky; you fell asleep
drunk, heavy, on top of me,
hands fisted at my waist, the fights of a thousand nights
suddenly unimportant, erased.
I believed I wanted an excuse to die for you,
to cry for you, if you wanted me to.
I wanted a reason to jump for you,
to live for you, to give for you.
Now, our room with a view
looks down upon the catastrophe
that was me and you.
The bedroom is singing its melancholy song,
as though the pangs of past love
have gone on for far too long.
The guitar quietly fingers its strings
in the back room, where it thinks
you might walk in any minute and
cradle its curves in your arms.
The infinite wind outside
is a chorus, the desolate cry
in the background left in
for added effect.
Art imitating life,
imitating art again.
You pluck the strings
of my heart as pleasure
for pain, like some
masochistic circus performer.
In the bath I draw circles,
hoping somehow to still see
a sliver of flesh beneath the blue.
In the mist that clings to the window,
I think for a moment that you
are looking myopically back at me.
Before bed, I face the night
without my many masks,
naked, exposed and dosed
on something that feels like fear.
The moon watches like a beady eye,
chasing the house and floating
like a balloon up and away; the spotlight
is tired of my act tonight.
The sheets swallow me, devour,
make me dream of you hour by hour.
In fiction, you are the love of my life,
the everything I prayed for,
the purpose, the good.
Now I wake like a spinster bride
to the piano’s tuneless mood,
its thoughtless pain,
that seems to want to confide in me
without console or gain.
I am somewhere either in the woods,
walking in the enormity of your shoes,
or in the water, making feeble shapes,
hoping to find you in the blue.
Last updated February 11, 2014