Learned and
Polished and
The crooked made straight
Dots and crosses

Or making not a sound,
For errors They made–

I am ready.

I arrived early
And my face hurt,
The over smile
Hiding the natural poise.
Head high, but not too,
Blending into the
Until I am called forth–

I have arrived.

And yet…
Where am I to sit?
The arrangement
Does not require they
Save a seat for me.
I am the background
Until I am called forth.
Until I am called forth
There is no room.

But I learned!
I bear the trophies
And the scars!
I am polished!
I tore away the other
At the roots!
Pulled it and broke it
Until it was worthy
Of your glare!
And I agreed with you
And you pointed to me
As Evidence!
Breaking my body
And reforming into
Something new
Unchained to The Past
That you said I should
Get Over

I made not a sound
Ignoring those who
Spoke too much
And too often,
As you required.
If we don’t talk about it
It will go away
And there will be room.

And I arrived.
And I waited.
And waited.
I smiled
And you did not see me
One did, and even
Smiled back.
Called me over
And spoke on my behalf
And we were the same
But mostly you
And you turned
And sent me away again.

I cleared my throat
And you turned
And told me to wait.
And I asked for room
Over enunciating
So that I didn’t
Hurt your ears
Sensitive and unused
To hearing me speak,
And you said that I was
Too loud
And besides
There was no room.

The weight around my neck
As did my head
And my hair
And my voice
And I left you there
And I did not look back
And you did not notice
My absence
And I over enunciated
My apology
To Them,
Whom I had avoided.
They called me over
And together we made something

We made many sounds
A cacophony of brilliance
They, learned,
And I, learning
And we were beautiful
And we did not wait
We made new again.

And you saw us from the corner
And you could not hear
Our words
And you pretended
Not to listen
And we laughed louder
And you moved closer
And said we hurt your ears
And you were angry
At us
For creating
Our own table
And now that
You are listening
And you have moved slightly
And made enough room
For one of us
Why do we have our own table?

You do not ask to sit
You simply move in
And you claim it
As your own.
You keep a few to reference
Every now and again
To remind yourself
That we are the reason
Different tables exist
Because if we were
Learned and polished and refined and well spoken and
There would be room
You forget that the room
That you claim as yours
Will never belong to you
And you will keep looking
From the corner of your eye
For us to take it
For more to take.

I am not afraid.
We will make new again.
There will be room.

between strangers on a train: soliloquy

I pretend you moved away from a house you never lived in.
Words I never said are in your mind as you ride a different train in a different direction.
On your different train, in your different direction, briskly you pass by a girl who looks like me and I imagine that you notice her, and then you remember me.
On your different train, in your different direction, crooked hearts on the window catch your eye, and I imagine that we stood when everyone else sat, our breath mingling and our fingers touching as we left traces of ourselves.

My train is little more than empty, my head is down, my heart as empty as the train that carries me, and in the lull of an endless melancholy melody I hear a voice,
“Do you mind if I sit here?” and I look up and our eyes meet.
And in your eyes recognition.
My heart catches in my throat, freezing in time.
I imagine a soliloquy drips as honey from my lips into your ear in response; and caught under my spell you forget your question and I don’t answer.
In reality I offer a terse smile and I shake my head and you flash your brilliant smile at me and you wait, respectfully, for me to make room.

You didn’t have to wait, of course; there was room for you already.

Empty Words

I wasted all of the beautiful words I owned on you.
Our dalliance a mere sigh, foolishly I thought it sempiternal.
You pressed yourself into me and I conflated an erstwhile tryst
With love.
I imagined you were demure, your evanescent smile constructed to disguise,
To conceal your ever efflorescent soul.
You granted me your imagined self, composing yourself a symphony built on mellifluous nothing.
On gossamer strings you constructed a life for us.

Our life together is pyrrhic and we burn down in flames.
And yet I dwell in the penumbra of the ruins of our imagined life, hoping for the scintilla that will reignite us.


I wasted all of the beautiful things I owned on you.

Affairs (incomplete)

When I met him his eyes were brown, a muddy earthbound color. Cool and predictable, honest eyes.
When I bedded him they were darker, an inky sable, clouded and deep.
Keep them open
Look at me

I could see his soul if I stared long enough, and deep enough.
But at the moment—that moment—he would close them.
When he opened them again the moment was gone, the black loosened, and they were once more brown and earthbound.
Not the fiery hazel they have become, beset with anger. Caught in their brilliance I am lost; they reflect only the television set to mute behind us
And my own despair.
Where,” he repeats, and still I do not answer. I am drunk on the lazy scent of honeysuckle wafting in through the windows, honeysuckle and something like fear; when he overturns the television I see him from afar.
How very distant we are.
“In this room?! In this bed?!”
This bed.
Not our bed.
Not our marriage bed.
Our marriage bed was ours long before we were shackled together;
before the monogrammed place settings and the crystal with his last name carved for both of us
before we became a we and our fates were hewn together
before we fell over the precipice for the last time and I was lost
Our bed was ours.
Our bed was where I discovered his snore, slight and airy and only obnoxious at three a.m. when my eyes burned from want of sleep. I discovered his teeth were slightly overlapped in that bed, after the snore, when I stared daggers into his mouth and considered silencing him with the pillows flattened by age.
Then I watched him sleep, played with his fingers curling even in sleep against mine, warm and large.
Our bed was where we made love and fucked and had quick bouts of sex with one hand pressed against my back the other against the wall so the neighbors wouldn’t hear.
His brother helped me move the bed out while he was away; he didn’t notice for weeks.
One of the neighbors picked it up before it could be hauled from the side of the road.
This bed is mine. We share the placemats
And the towels
And the toilet
But not the bed.
“Yes,” I answer. “This bed.”
He is beset with fire when he rips backs the sheets and we are both of us aflame as he destroys the remains.
“I didn’t love him,” I offer. A small kernel of truth, a dagger. Felled by the sting of my admission he draws back.
The flames simmer in his eyes but do not away. He stares into the bed and beyond, watching us. Seeing us tangled together, hearing my enraptured moans.
His eyes are lapis and deep, his mouth turned up into a scythe blade smile.
We met accidentally and bedded immediately and it was over quickly and then we lingered. The next was longer, a painful ecstasy, almost too long, and a demon he set me ablaze.
His tongue stung me, a beautiful deadly thing. He traveled my body, sinking through my skin and into my blood, a poison.
He wrapped himself around my heart but he dared not enter; his grin never faded. He didn’t need my love. He didn’t require it.
We shared only our bodies. There were no placemats
No towels
Not even a toilet.
He showered at his place, which I would never see.
He only saw this bed.

“Why? Tell me why?”

I move about the room as I consider his question. Despair is gone from me, the tendrils of it swept through the window on the wings of a summer breeze.
*I am selfish.
*The scythe blade of his smile is matched by my own Cheshire grin
*You are earthbound but he is air and flame
*I am afraid to leave
*I want you to want me to stay
*I want this to pierce your soul because I do not know it
*You do not love me
“I don’t know,” I answer.
He breaks. From the vantage point outside of myself, far beyond us, I reach for him but I am too far. Shards of our remains stand between us, the stalactites and stalagmites of our crumbling ruins.
I hate you,” he whispers through the veil he has erected.
I should say I hate myself. I should say I hate what I’ve done to us. I should say I hate that I have lost you.
I say none of those things. I feel none of those things.
“I’m sorry,” I placate him, killing the meaningless phrase.
“Get out,” he yells. He throws the frame with the photo of us, our first, and it breaks. We both watch the shards of glass glittering dangerously in an innocent sunlight.
When our eyes meet I am already gone. Sable and endless his eyes capture me for the first and last time, the whole of him laid bare.
Anger–no, rage. Fear.
Love is absent from us, and in the heat of his rage with everything we are or ever were turned to ash the bones are left and love is not in them.

My body aches with loss, an empty painful void is left and he fills it. I claw his back and he returns my affections, his teeth scraping against my throat. He plays with the ring still resting on my finger and beneath my cries he whispers,
I love you.”
The ring presses into my palm until it draws blood, and I press my mouth against him, silencing him.
His scythe blade lips curl against mine, coaxing from me my Cheshire grin.
I am poison to him, but he takes it.
“Okay,” I reply.