I cannot, you see

person holding black and green bird
Photo by Kristina Paukshtite

What if she’s me? The woman screaming without reprieve?

And what if she’s you? The body beneath the sheets lifted by strangers?

Every time the phone rings, I see in my minds eye, your prone form

fallen, or hurt, somehow

this fear I inhabit is years in coming

your fragility creeps up on us like a wettened shroud

once so strong, you’d take me in your bronze arms and

press me to you where the sound of your powerful

heart beat assured me nothing would erase or remove

your certainty

then the sick hiss and whisker of machines

a tube down your throat, a glazed look, no recognition

slack hand filled with needles, empty eyes void of life

I felt you moving away even as you stayed

gone and still there

a stranger in your face, your expressions glazed

even the taste of your lips changed

as if blistering over from sudden Winter storm.

As time ticks down, we look up

to salvation, prayer and hope when

maybe nobody listens

I stand over you as you sleep

your little bluebird chest rising in dream

I want to

climb on the bed and laugh as once we did

curling around each other in chased game

oh so much joy in one shared heart

when i was your girl and you were my

evening rose

now the dust has settled and we still

scattered pictures, cannot see clearly

all around are shadows and shorn warnings

easy to lose ourselves in fears glory

like gathering a bird who has fallen from glass

stunned and dying pressed in our hands

death on us now, like unsought reflection

glinting, glinting, glinting.

I miss you, the you I knew

better than I know myself

who would turn in her sleep and

touch me without waking

such was our eternal fuse

one into the other, no boundaries

and time is a fickle fellow

taking you and keeping you sickened

welded to pills and paper casts of closed theatres

we stand apart, at times nearly severed

I would sacrifice all to make you well

but i have given everything i know

it is clear we go in different directions

one is the end and you drift like

wind on frigid water

while i continue to swim upstream

i cannot, you see

let go

your bright feathers dull

and still i look up

when birds fly into glass

Yes

She has

Russia folded in her eyes

The girl she once was

In balletic poise and straight long neck

She carries her mother’s lips in disapproval and mirth

The tan of her father come from outside, asking for iced hibiscus

Her long hands are her own

They play instruments and lovers

With careful solitary stroke

She has the curl of her grandmother crossing brow in stray wave

A sad gaze into ether, when you catch her off guard

And I am drawn to the shy fruiting shape of her mouth

As we talk and artfully avoid

What is undisclosed in space existing

Between strangers, then become friends

Not yet more

Will she understand? Unbutton one permission

Without need to drink liquor or gather foreign courage

From the same source we all go

Unsure and burning up with tiptoeing fever

I imagine

Stepping over the divide

Between her serenity and mine

Touching the cool fawn skin of her throat

Gathering her to me, as gardener arranges posie from wild thorn

Proffering possibility like dancers, sweating and sleek bodied

Will acquiesce their motion to soft fall of curtain

I know her heart will be close to her warm skin

Cantering like a wild appalachian

I know because I see the quiver in her narrow shoulders

Feel her keening toward me as shifting current

Caught in hesitation and mute query

It is my place to shake doubt with first touch

Banish half formed fears

Replace them with mutual need

See her eyes widen and take in

The fullness of our rounding desire

We move into the other

Like music attracting and repelling

Night winds, pregnant with sea spray

Leaving flowers, shining and damp

Beneath velvet sky, emptied of noise

Lest sound of her sigh and one word,

Yes.