Thursday, November 19, 2009
In memory you exist. The first day, the first moment, it all speaks of eyes which saw my future.
Walking into a house not of my own, I paused in front of the kitchen door. And there stood you.
A man mopping, ringing water out into a plastic bucket with fingers long, brown. Long tendrils of dreadlocks tied back.
Exhibited no shame for cleaning the floor in a house where four women sat in corners of large stuffed sofas.
One of those women sat eating red twisted licorice, womb swollen from recent growth of pregnancy you thought you created.
She spoke to me of winter's early arrival, oblivious to the bulging muscles in your arms. Forearms extended as you mopped in straight motions, 6'2" never seemed so tall to me previously.
"Clean that stove out too," she ordered, stirring the newborn from sleep. Tiny fingers, clinched, going to pursed lips which did not open to cry.
You looked at me for the first time, as I raised head from the boy to your hands, your eyes.
Frightened from guttural want, girlish desire, I turned eyes of guilt to floor.
Words of farewell spoken, exit quickly taken. A virginal girl's discomfort exampled in my haste. We neither one spoke, nor looked to the other.
I left you, yet carried you with me.
My stanzas summoned you for weeks. Being alone ceased to mean lonesome, when thoughts of you gave me comfort. I thought I must be mad. My aching left me angry with myself.
When next I saw those hands, two winters had passed.
Eyes met yours on Chicago deli corner. Frigid air inhaled as your smile forced harsh breath into my lungs.
You raised your fingers to lips, breath cold, blowing white air from between knuckles, "You ready for Christmas?" you asked.
I did not speak, could not, just nodded yes.
Could think only of lips and lust and hell and sin.
I lowered my eyes to feet, the only part of my anatomy not hot with flush of innocent blushing.
Fingertips under tip of chin and raising my eyes to yours, "What book is that you're hiding in the bend of your elbow?"
Your voice, which still today narrates dreams which come too often, startled me. The tone deep and laughing, you knew.
"Speak To Me," said as I looked down more to avoid the humor apparent in the creases of your eyes, than to the title I was well familiar with. "It's an anthology of poetry written by women."
So gently you took the book from my fingers, gloved in black leather.
"If you want this back, you'll let me buy you a cup of tea and read me a poem."
We walked in slow steps, the chill of wind no longer of consequence. You led me into the cafe which these days I visit to memorialize our life together.
You asked what first I would read to you. I chose Agneta Ara's "Longing Is Betrayal Of Oneself." We both laughed easily at my choice, but no amusement was felt after the lines had left my lips.
Our voices silent for long moments, as we drank tea and looked at each other, remembering former lives we must have lived together. Spoke of clandestine intersections. Of water. Of philosophy. Of jazz. Of possibilities.
"I've thought of those damn green eyes of yours so many times," you said then.
I smiled as I sipped my first cup of hot tea with cream. "Oh did you?"
You slid the book across the table then. Leafed through earmarked pages and began to read "Sometimes I Dream" by Ingela Standberg.
No poem since has so vestured me.