Wednesday, 1 November 2017

Misapprehension




My hands under the water
not wondering
but knowing
I tried not to inhale
but then the war came
and it was all forgotten
go ahead and read it to
them
I might catch up again
one day

Monday, 16 October 2017

Fractured



“Alturis told me about his brother,” Megan said.  When Andy frowned, she asked him, “Did you know what was going on?”

“Not until we found the Bergens.  Even then we didn’t know it was him until someone tipped us off.  But I thought he’d come after me—I never thought in a million years that he’d go after you.”

“Well, he didn’t really.  He was just confused.  He said good henchmen were hard to find.”

Andy laughed bitterly.  “I guess so.”

“It’s not like you can advertise for them.”

“No.”

“But are you going to be all right about the Bergens?  Because it wasn’t your fault.”

Andy’s smile faded.

“Don’t let it ruin your life,” Megan told him.  “They wouldn’t have wanted that.”

“Yeah,” Andy said.  His eyes darted around the room.  “Anyway, don’t worry about me.  You just worry about yourself.  I guess you’ll sell the house?”

“It was time, anyway.  Hopefully it won’t take too long.  A friend of mine who’s a real estate agent says that everything that happened will only make it more attractive to potential buyers.  I guess there are people out there who like houses with a back story.”

Andy shook his head.  “People are strange.”

“Sometimes.”

“Will you stay in town, though?”

“I don’t know.  I have a friend who’s a principal in Madison and they just had a teacher suddenly retire due to illness, so she’s offered me the job.  I think I might take it.”

“Well, good for you.  I hope it all works out.”

“Me, too.”

“I talked to my boss when he was here.  We have everything worked out.”

In the silence that followed Megan wondered again about the cat who Andy had released all of those years ago.  She wondered if he even remembered it now, or if he had moved forward from those memories, too.  “So, anyway,” Andy said, “I just wanted to stop by, because I’ll be heading off to Chicago tomorrow.”

“Does that you mean you’ve made a decision about your job?”

“That’s great,” Megan said warmly.  “I’m sure you did the right thing.”

“Thanks.  And, Meg—it was good to see you again.”

“You, too.”

Andy turned toward the door.  Just before he reached it he stopped.  “So I guess you’re going to hate me forever, huh?” he said to the floor.

“Oh, no.  Not at all.”

“You sure?”

“I’m sure.”

“You’ll let me know if you ever need something?”

“Definitely.”

“Good,” Andy said.  He then let himself out of the hotel room, leaving Megan alone once more.


Sunday, 15 October 2017

Cornered



Hey there old man     are you afraid
the boy on the bicycle            your crayon face
the girl with the eyes              on the wall behind you
not the only one          full of matter and space
And in this basement where bones 
pile higher and  higher
The avalanche of whispers will one day 
deny you    
the walking death          you left too late
the boy on the bicycle            he is laughing away
no one can save what is already 
departed
and what you thought finished 
only just started


Thursday, 12 October 2017

The Danger Within




This sea            filled with raging suspicions

polluted by the debris         of 1000 amazing inventions

not one in which I could believe

were you caught
in the firestorm of a million
conversations
or lost
in a dying admission

because just one thing I can show
and that is I am here                          
without you                         
alone
               
perhaps                 

just as it should be

but in our graveyard of
convictions
one last night
of fading ambition

your promise on the end of my fingertips
and it falls
it falls

daylight a shade too deep

I want to know
one day I must know

was it ever thus?
the clouds mirrored in our eyes
the end of apology
the apocalypse of
us


Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Exposed



Melissa was already at the restaurant, sat at a table near the front windows.  The hallmark of blonde perfection, she stood up and greeted me with a big hug.  If I hadn’t known she was four months pregnant I never would have guessed.  When I remarked on this she protested, “I’m as big as a house!  But I can’t believe how much you’ve changed.  You aren’t Bryan’s little girl anymore, are you?”

It was all I could do to not choke on my feeble laugh.  “I don’t know.  I never did seem to get tall.”

“It hasn’t hurt you.” 

“Thank you.  So  tell me about your pregnancy," I said.  If I didn't redirect her now Melissa might go on about Bryan for the next two hours, and I couldn't take that.  My nerves were shredded enough as it was.  

Like most expectant mothers she seemed happy to answer my rapid-fire questions about the baby.  I even managed to laugh a few times at her stories about bizarre food cravings.  But she must have been waiting for an opportunity to bring the topic back round, because when I paused for a breath she seized the moment.  “Bryan was in a terrible place while you were gone," she told me.  "After you left he made me promise to let him know if you contacted me.”

“Huh.”

“I can just imagine how he felt to have you back again.”

“...Yeah."  I cleared my throat.  “So what do you want, a boy or a girl?”

“Oh, either one is fine, although I think Todd is hoping for a girl.”

Grateful for the chance to heap praise on her husband, I said, “He sounds so sweet”—only for Melissa to reply, somewhat cryptically I thought, “At times.  Is Bryan seeing anyone right now?”

“Not that I know of.”  In the half-beat pause that followed, I waited for God to strike me dead, or for my nose to grow a foot longer.  When neither happened I continued, “I don’t think he’s in that head space right now.”

“I suppose not.  I’m not surprised it ended with Pauline.”

“Pauline?” I repeated.  “You must mean Amanda.”  It was completely understandable that Melissa would mix up the names.  Not even the most sophisticated of database packages could accurately catalogue Bryan’s conquests.

Melissa, however, shook her head.  “Pauline is the one he dated after he broke up with Amanda.”

So there had been another girlfriend.  Interesting that Bryan had neglected to mention this little titbit to me.  “I didn’t realize,” I said stiffly.  “When did you find out about her?”

“Last September, when I called to tell him about my marriage.”

“I see.”  Pauline. Why couldn’t Bryan ever date someone with a sensible name, like Myrtle?  Why did it always have to be someone with a name like Pauline?  Hating how much I cared, yet cognizant that I could give myself away here if I weren’t careful, I forced myself to joke, “Well, whoever she was, she had to be a lot better than Amanda.” 

“That I can’t say, but from how he talked about her I knew she wouldn’t last.  He obviously wasn’t in love with her.”  Melissa lowered her gaze to her half-eaten salad.  “Sometimes I think he doesn’t have room in his heart for anyone but you.”

I felt my face blanch.  

“I’m sorry," Melissa said.  "I’m not trying to complain, or make you feel bad.  But I have to wonder if he’s capable of loving any woman.”

Ha!  She wasn’t the only one.  “You came the closest.  He was never with anyone for even a fraction as long as he was with you.”

 “I used to believe that, too.  But now I’m convinced he just kept me around for your sake."  At my only half-stifled gasp she reached over and patted my hand.  "It’s okay," she said.  "It's not your fault.  He was trying to be good to you.  But I don’t think it’s a coincidence that once you were basically an adult he ended the relationship.  At the time I wanted to believe otherwise, but when I saw how destroyed he was after you left I couldn’t deny the truth anymore.  He never loved me.”

“I don’t believe that.”

“I saw it in his eyes, after I got married.  He was so pleased—relieved, almost, as if he didn’t have to feel guilty anymore.  There was no trace of regret.  He was fond of me, but that was it.  I was never special to him.” 

I’d of course figured this out years ago.  I’d just hoped she never would.  “Oh, Melissa," I sighed.  "I’m so sorry.”

“Don’t be.  It’s my own fault.  He never really tried to hide it.  Besides, I got to spend all of that time with you." She smiled, even though both of us were now on the verge of tears.  “That made it all worthwhile.”

“I don’t know about that.  What I do know is that he didn’t deserve you.  You’re better off with Todd.”

"Maybe," Melissa said softly.  "I don't know.  But whether he deserved me or not, Bryan Jennings is a hard man to get over."


Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Forsaken

I nail my hair to the floor
whisper through the strands

                do you hear me tonight?
                  shoot me a sign because
                    I lift you up
                        I lift you up
                   until you are the

               highest  
                               
                         I cast you              you take flight
                          into this 
                          deconstructing night
                         rain shining hammers
down
                                upon my head
                                    dead memories I
                                   scatter on your altar
  like lilies
                                       resurrected

 for you I know of fires
                           around my eyes they burn
                                they bring me here with
                               crooked fingers

                I shoot you higher
                count the nails tumbling from 
                   my hands
                                you forgot me      left me here
                     a thousand angels with tar-pitched wings
                                they drag me to this precipice
                                  call me fool to my face
                                     as you bury me like a stick
                              after you have broken off the buds
                                      
                                    but still I pray to you
                                 through the ravaged ends of
                                    my hair
  
the floorboards 
hear
pity me

            

            

Sunday, 8 October 2017

Buried



Tired
since the day I was born
panic
and then stalling
like a car in winter
too cold to start