Alone in the Flood

I had always known it would finish
in death. He rose to his feet, the mirror
catching his reflection, trapping
him in its ephemeral prison. Senescent, my
eyes grasped their own reflection, scalding
tears running over my cheeks
down to the white pillow- my body
alone in the flood, flotsam upon
the rising water, exposed
to the sun. He left, his cell
unable to hold him. I remained,
dead and breathing, the last petal
dangling from the inflorescence.

A Dream Quiescent

It is better to be dreaming than alone,
she whispered in my ear like splinters
of wood. I gazed into the reflection of her
standing behind me, that abysmal
darkness, and I saw the smile she
imprinted on the wall as if the next three
hours would pass without existing.
A new life is waiting, she whispered again,
calling me from sleep, Together
we'll walk without waking, quiescent.

Waking Alone

A cold trumpet morning wakes
me from dizzying sleep, climbing
slowly up into the fir outside
my window. Frost cracks
the panes of glass separating me
and the world. Inside
my head I scratch lines and erase
the dust from blackboarded walls
in furious pensiveness. Yellowing
white dust attacks my fingertips
and the front of my pantlegs,
drying the life from inside out.
Drying the life I remember from days
past and almost-forgotten. I see her
face washing away in the rain,
a child's drawing on the steps up
to the front door. I stretch my hand
toward the window and touch the cold
glass, hoping to melt away the pain
that remembering exhales.

Still, she used to say, the wind
will never blow you away. A leaf
drifting from branch to earth, browning
along the margins. Centrally yellow,
fading. Into the soft morning
I blink and let go.


Within, Satisfaction

Under the table, I dream
as the windows rust with falling
rain. I dream that come
morning, no man on horseback
will come to save the day. No,
not this time, in this world
where the street lamps turn
to scaffolds at dawn and crowds
gather and cheer with eyes
sewn shut, mouths filled with sand.

From under the table, I see her
legs smooth beneath the bottom
of her skirt. Her feet untroubled
and feeling. I reach my arm
toward her, the air between us
engulfing my skin like flames

for I shall touch not the anointed.
If the dead rise again it will be without
satiation, I repeat under my breath,
and all the world will see the morning
of my birth. Her feet leave red holes
on the wood as under the table, I see her
walk, legs hastening toward
the window, looking
toward the scaffold, expecting
a familiar face: her own.

Nocturne 118

From within the darkest rooms, her
eyes, melting into the night, force
their gaze upon the corner of my skin.

She wanders through the haze
and sits without sound upon the water,
floating fragmented throughout
each breath of air moved from my lungs
and lips. I hold her
still until she stops whispering,
her lips simplified in the darkening
wasteland. I unfold

the papers from my back
pocket, reading and re-reading
penned lines to a love long dead-
she never touched my arm. I
never told her I loved
her that night without knowing
her name.

She slipped behind the curtain
and bowed her solemn face
to the emptiness all around, welcoming
the coming storm.


I, Too, Waited for the World to End

He never looked at me
as he walked through
the arched doorway that evening
in the rain
nearly four and a half years ago.

He never looked at me
as he entered
our home all those years
through the drought
nearly four and a half years.

He never looked, but he came.
He came, not like the visitor
that he was. He didn't clean his
shoes on the mat outside the front
door. He came
as though he lived there,
and he never looked. Not at me.

Without looking at me he
climbed the stairs one at a time,
not hurrying. He walked
one step and another to the top, where
he would find her room and her,
waiting for the world to end.

The handle turned with a click
and the door screamed gently open
to her and her waiting. He closed
the door sighing softly. He always
closed the door to her room
when he came.

He came without looking at me,
never looking at me, as he
tracked mud up the stairs to her room
those nights in the rain. She waited
for the world to end. He came.