by Shaunna Harper
He sleeps in the hammock
of a silken, silver scar
that curls around my arm like a chain;
a creature comfort, a ghostly appendage,
finer than a spider's web and visible only to me.
This is where he lives.
Where snow half-falls in unreachable diamonds,
becoming hardened rain that wants to wound.
Where the sun shines in segments
like the moon, indecisive, shy,
a cold crescent against the darkness
until dawn sinks its glow like a ship.
Love only blossoms here
not in years or in whole lives,
but in fragmented minutes and days,
in the most subtle of changing ways,
its rose-tinted glass never quite full.
Summer only sings the first stanza
of its sonnet before winter sucks the breath
from the air; the tune carries only a part of its melody,
chords glitching like it doesn't care.
His laughs are little whispers,
quiet as the flush of an eyelash
against delicate skin, secret
as a night-time tear, a hollow chime
that only I can hear; this is how he adores me.
Sullen, silent and in temperamental measure,
a loving, hostile temper.
I keep him like tattoos behind the skin,
beneath my nails, hold him stiff in places
where only he can wander in.
He is the smallest of pleasures,
an inkblot, a chip of Fool's gold,
a flake of snow fluttering against the cold,
and this is how he needs me;
the soft, pliable comfort of my earthly flesh,
the constant tease of my broken promises.
I keep him alive and in love just enough
to keep him willing, from season to season,
by degrees, in measures.
Last updated August 18, 2014