It begins with the stain. Hers, not his, on the hem of the gown, imperceptible to his eye. But I see the stain as I see her. 

Burnt. Red-rust. Soiled. 

I imagine it creeping up the gown, engulfing her and that shockingly tinny laughter that she possesses, the hollow-can sound it makes. 

And then it takes him, swallows him in rust, ruining him for forever.

My face hurts. The smile, the one we practice, must be pasted there somewhere.

My eyes tear away from her rust stain, searching for his. 

Ours meet. 

Faintly, in the hollowed halls of an abandoned room, I hear the voice. 


Something follows slowly,crawling through time.

Speak now.

My mouth moves silently, picking apart the language, struggling to find words that we can agree on, something that might make sense. 

Speak now or forever

It can end there, in the not ending. Forever is not eternal, but it is more than this. If words escape me now I have forever to decide

Speak now or forever hold your peace

Peace? Piece? 

Peace of mind? Peace of body–lonely and aching? Absence? Is this peace?

Piece of mind? His? Or mine? Insufficient. Inadequate. Incomplete. 

A hand moves–mine. 

Our eyes meet. His questioning. And mine?

He reaches

For the ring. Grabs my hand instead. 

The sound the others make–it should sound like laughter, sounds like laughter to them. 

To me

To us?

To me is sounds like rain. 

Feels like rain. Always inconvenient. Brief. Abrupt. 

A joke is made in a language that I understand

But cannot speak. 

He didn’t speak it before

But he smiles now and feignspretendslies


I should be speaking. Now. Speak now. 

The moment passes. The peace is held. (The piece is held).

The ring falls, summoned to the ground. 

I reach

He reaches

He meets the rust before I. 

The pause, the piece of the service for which

We didn’t prepare. 

I watch as it creeps into his eyes and he draws them up up up

The length of her. 

Peace gone. A piece gone. 

Ours meet. 

Speak now or forever

My heart skids to a halt before crashing. The stain, transferred to him

Imperceptible to her. 

I reach for him, to sweep it from his shoulder

He reaches back

Ours meet

The peace is held.


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