I find her seated at the kitchen table at two a.m.,
her red dress a large heart in the dark’s chest.
I flip the light switch: she stares past the empty
chair across from her, over the swan-necked faucet
curving moonlight, then beyond the bay window
where time and space continuously trade places
above the slow-rising slope of my neighbor’s roof.
It’s expected that I sit, that we submerse ourselves in
each other’s presence, the blue silence of two a.m.
I sit. Her gaze shifts, softest of shovels, a tender
excavation to see the why of my sleeplessness,
my wandering in socked feet, pulling moans
from floorboards, moving air into other rooms.
A cricket chirrs behind the refrigerator: gold spark,
gold spark, gold spark, goes quiet, cold dark.
You, Lisa. Exam table. Swivel stool. Taupe cabinets.
Framed Degas print—pastel ballerina, folded in half
to grip her foot. Door swings, doctor enters. So young.
Wheels the stool behind. To sit closer to your wife.
Faces her. Leans toward. Speaks to. Her face, yours—
how they change. Cloud shadow without the clouds.
In my city there comes the sound of someone’s
death wish, of reckless velocity, the car engine’s cry
thinning with distance. From Marina, this distilled
empathy. Warm gold fire. And this conflagration
of time, of seconds becoming ash. The hush of that:
sparks springing out from nothing, then returning to it.
Late evening. Livingroom couch. Lisa, you. News on
mute. Don’t blame you. Tortoiseshell cat alert
against the sliding glass. Tail twitching—something
outside, alive in that dark. Third drink in your hand.
Careful. Her hand swirls inside her hair, gathering.
Palm open—to show you. Little brunette bird’s nest.
She rises, resolute. You follow. Roll your old
office chair into the hall. In your hand, scissors
shine. Careful. She sits, head already dipped,
meaning—Begin. Your eyes tell. Pink, glossed.
You sway, careful, snip. Dark brown locks fall
slow. Scraps of shadow land randomly. Now
clippers, nape to crown. Peach white shock of scalp.
Such gentleness—how you brush away the filaments
crosshatching her forehead. Your unhurried
hand considering her skull. One fingerpad skating
across stubble. Around the hair whorl. Clockwise.
Again around. Don’t make something of it—this
spiraling outward. Don’t imagine me gliding into
your bedroom, my nothing-like-a-heart dress
whispering on the floor. It cannot whisper. Just as I
cannot lift the bedcover. Slip in like an open door.
Cannot hear the soft ocean of her breathing
or feel the flame of her body beside mine. Look—
I’m not here. I’m saying good-bye. Vanishing
from your mind. Cloud shadow without the clouds
uncovering your moon-blued world.
When I climb in, scoot close, she stirs: my girl,
my gold, my glow, my dream inside the dream of my
life, these seconds, these breaths blessing my neck.