Saturday, August 6, 2011
Not Ours To See
Painting borrowed from Freaking News
Not Ours to See
Your eyes are uncut emeralds, frosted
with images. The smell of river mud mingles
with urine, bleach, the taste of onions. In the hall,
the chatter of nurses, old mothers dying alone.
The constant mutter in your throat ebbs
and flows, undecipherable. But who
can comprehend constancy? Your skin
is soft as silk, thin and pale, precious. Someone
once loved the taste of salt on that skin, the sheen
from those eyes. There is a picture above your bed.
I just told you his name, but I’ll say it again while I’m here.
It’s not noise you mutter, I know. It is the purest
sound. But shush while I tell you a story about a girl
with an appropriated name, quieter than the sum
of her parts. And yet she shined like river mud.
Let us both be that girl, just for a little while, until
the nurse comes to change you in the swaddling
machine. I cannot kiss this skinned knee, love.
I don’t have the right spit. This girl I mentioned,
her favorite movie was anything by Hitchcock,
Doris Day singing: “Will we have rainbows
day after day?” Her emerald necklace cradling
the delicate skin of her throat. The sad fact of time
unreachable beyond the credits. For this girl,
the churchyard stone was warm in the sun. She
could curl into the grooves worn by grieving fingers
and rest. But this stone is no one we know, love.
The only instinct humans are born with is a desire
to grasp beauty. Soon, it will be lights out.
Soon, all questions will be stifled. Soon, the warm hand
of economy will bundle us all into our true home.
For now, stare at the frosted mirror as it reflects
back to you something you thought you’d forgotten.
See? Nothing is ever lost to us.
Posted over on Ten Pages Press