I lifted the September soap
and began to sponge
my closest companion
that I knew all too well,
but never in this manner.
As my fingers touched
small scars and other imperfections
her body quivered
with a blackness awoken
from some mindful place
and gravity pulled the air
tighter around us.
I did as she asked
and stroked her back
with a pine bough
and the expansive aroma
worked the trick of white light,
illuminating emotional curtains
clinging at the edge of an exhaled breath.
I, too, felt the inadequacy of words
in moments like this,
felt my body’s imperceptible leaning
toward her, before our lips pressed
gently against each other,
once briefly, then
a second time
for an unknown duration.
Thank you for crowing over my drawing
of a window as wrinkled as a prune.
Thank you for your blighted, bittersweet lips
and any ashen complaints they belayed.
The dog’s stump of a hind leg
speaks of a motor car and a day too cold.
Thank you for expanding the horizon
so the sun sets much broader.
The woman standing in the nude
expects your drawing to be an accurate reflection.
Thank you for the mirror image
of her breasts in a placid lake.
The lightning strike of your inspiration
burns and blackens the sand dunes’ tears.
Thank you for adding green grass
encroaching on the barren places transporting snowmelt.
All your color commentary cannot lift into the sky
the bird who hit the window too hard.
I love the plot paintings relate
as they tell me their creation stories.
Thank you for the silent photographs
you stole from a bygone era before film making,
their sense of the everyday,
the tangerine on a highly polished cherry table.
Imagine the late passenger
to disperse depression
and a tangerine melancholy.
You would think there must be song
and a chorus dressed in hymnal white
or cross-bearing red.
I entered a wide, calm lake
that resides above the tree line
in an attempt to cleanse my limbs
of sorrow’s deep root.
The late passenger took off her clothes
after she set the swinging lantern of the stars
upon the twenty-third psalm
disguised as a weather-smoothed granite rock.
She entered the drowning chill of the lake
and explained the joy of swans and dogs.
She asked for a guide home.
She asked if my countenance
is the oft-repeated trench
where atrocities are buried.