‘Til Tuesday

Come evening they sit in the front room–
he with his chamomile and she has her crossword
puzzle on her lap. She swears when she makes a mistake in ink

The phone rings across the room. She coughs.He turns his head once,
but does not get up. She claims that she can tell
it is a telemarketer by the tone

“Is there any beer?”
She continues working on 23 down, not answering.
“Is there any beer?”
“There is no beer.” She writes in the answer.
“Pity.”

The clock strikes 8.
she puts down the puzzle.
“Meet you there?”
“Hmm?”
“Well it is Monday night.”
“So it is. Did you?”
“Yes, of course.”

She stands in the doorway in crimson.
She typically wears only black, but
had promised to always wear his favourite color red on Mondays.
“A new one. Lace?”
“Yes.”

After–
they lie very still, he on his side and she on her back,
smoking. He makes a pretense of coughing.
“Your hair looks like satin in this light.”

“And you look like the boy I met on the train.”
“Was that 1988?”
“You know it was.”
“Best day ever.”
Smoke rings at the ceiling speak of it.

She sits cross-legged on the bed
while he brushes her hair. Every few strokes
he leans forward and speaks directly into her ear, whispering
“I love Mondays.”

“Did you say you bought roses?”
“Red ones, two dozen”
“Where are they?”
“I saw you were home and ran in quickly. They must be in my car.”
She smiles.
“Silly.”

She lies on her side and he on his back. She pushes
a shock of hair off his forehead with a delicate gesture.
He closes his eyes.

“Let’s lay here until Tuesday.”

(are we) Guarded

I scare myself

(she said)

when I think too deeply, denying the walls and encumbrances held dear so long
to open the doors wide, dust the corners, and drag feathers over fine china–
darling–you are the only thing precious enough that I might
worry for breaking us if we continue to mishandle what is too fragile for words
and your heart–I was close to getting my claws into–seems guarded–the castle
watched by half a dozen guards and their dogs, and you, well I believe you want me
more than ever but you will not tell me

So I scare myself

(she says to him)

half to death, no venue to pass over to you the depth and lightness of my soul
and this one thing I want more than any (that I would claw you for it, scratch your eyes until they are
useless) and she, her dark skin, her caramel that is yours will remain yours–but I will be happy
if I only see that spark there in your eyes–that she can not have–if I hear you say sweetheart
once more–and I believe you because you are there for only me-until you are not

hotter than eggs on a pan

sitting in my own sweat
t-shirt sticking to the car seat
I go back years
the scent of patchouli
and a badlyrolled joint
the backdrop for us

you and me and he
a triangle of the craziest
she nearly took my head off
guessing what we were up to
the day covered in southern comfort

so glad Mom didn’t know
what I was up to
sizzling summer days
on eagles wings no matter
how we grasped at them
hands-knees-lips-neck

good and bad it all passed
there was a beginning and an end
it wasn’t the best time in my life
but it also was not the worst

memories etched
in the rocks at the lake
impressions of our bodies gone
as sand shifted and water seeped in
before anyone could say for certain
that we had been there

Passion and politics

Raindrops are lost to clods of dirt
stirred by your footfall
you–so much taller than I
I thought they were your tears
falling over my head

I wish you had been sober
when you said you wanted me
I wish you had been kinder
when you got sober

You voted badly–I know it
you hammered me with your politics
you didn’t know shit
about foreign policy

You still could have stayed–
you could untie my knots
and did not tell me, while
I was trying to get at your heart

You said you hated the Beatles
but I still would have stayed
when you smashed my vintage ABBA record–
I walked out and you panicked

I miss you staring into my eyes
til I had to look down
I miss staring at your lap
til you blushed

It is raining again
the clods of dirt
stirred up by your footfall
I still listen for

grievances

self-pity
forgive me
isn’t pretty
crying with ruby-
throated sparrows
roof-top
when he did not
see me
he’s a
one-strike-
you’re-out man

all my words
any accolades
mere dust
when I see his
eyes go blank
knowing he
does not hear me
(desperately braiding
a tether to reach)

I was not her
I don’t have
delicate hands
(they have fought,
caressed,
held up babies
and made love
like a warrior)
my hands are not small

through another window
someone moans
complains
my mind still wedged
in fascination
(her voice
fading
to a hum)
smiling
as fairies come

Confessions

I try to tell you
without warning
tulips
in a Sèvres vase
between us
your face full of care
but you don’t say why
stirring tea
endlessly

If I were brave
you would hear all of it
this plan
concocted in a
twelve-year-old’s
window
(looking out)
what will it take?
glass showering

Our fingers
forming a web
between us
(you lift your hand
to brush hair
off my forehead)
and I shiver
with the notion
of one hundred nights

I trample you
and you ask for more
(assumptions,
predictions)
and this storm
of peach schnapps
the tip of your tongue
lazy and saying
come on

Each day
a new destination
to reach
that sunset with you
still seeing me
armed-
I draw you
into every waking hour
(the way I see you)

Perhaps in time
my solitude
could be interrupted
by your own
sunlight
from somewhere deep
(do you suppose)
it could be you
in the long run

Seven two five

Hello

She thought she was in love
and anyone watching knew
she was in love with falling
the relentless dropping
pull of gravity, from
some other planet, slower
every moment of each time
her eyes stealing his every look
trying to find out his thoughts
he never spoke aloud

Every flower in a vase, every
face full of glowing news
words slipping one after another
from his lips, and she knew
even then they were tawdry, cheaper
than a dime store beaded choker
even while she felt a bigger feel
than she had ever felt before
or after the day he did not show up
with his sudden pang of morals

our circle is unbroken

you come and you come
you roll over and go
your sharp sword shoved back
into your pants
your heart
the color of my garden
once red
black on the edges of winter

in the falling
and lingering
and aligning
and clinging
I missed the part of you
still a boy
ignoring
that you handled me
like a toy

sweet spring puppy love
I slurped it up
the whole pie until
it was all over my face
I ate up the gentle way
you said baby
please baby

and now you smile
your shoes under my bed
and you come and you come
and then
you go