tracing the character lines down the contours
of your face (your scars of life, you called them)
my fingers feel a warmth there that does not
flare from your nostrils or show in your eyes,
those cold, dead things that, emotionless,
push me away despite the silent screaming
I hear echoing there in the recesses
of your soul, bouncing off the chasm
where your young heart once beat in time with mine….
I touch the earlobe of the ear that doesn’t listen
to me anymore and feel the pulse throbbing
in the neck that does not turn when I walk
into the room like it used to when I was beautiful.
loneliness grasps me in it’s cold hard hand
and tells me to leave you alone, to run back
to my room with it’s white sheeted bed and
tear soaked pillows and candlelight that burns
only to read by and I turn to go when
my hand falls upon the chest that my head has
lain upon a thousand happy times
a thousand lonely years ago and I feel no heartbeat….
for a moment, I hear no breath, I sense no life…
like you have finally exited the body that has lived
in this house with me all these silent, angry years.
a sob escapes my throat and I, helpless, move to run for help…
it’s then your hand in rapid motion, grasps my wrist
and pulls me down, your eyes streaming with tears
your breath coming in great agonizing storm.
you terrify me with wordless fear I cannot comprehend
“I thought you were dead,” I whisper and you whisper,
“I was. I was”. and you hold me in a lover’s embrace
and cover my face with kisses, eyes new and fiery
with a passion that I have wept for in the darkness
down the hall. “Forgive me!” you cry and pull my head
down to the chest that now heaves with breath and life
and familiarity that moments ago seemed so alien….
“I looked at you,” you say softly and raise my head
to meet your eyes. “I looked at you and I saw how
beautiful you are and it took my breath away.”
“I’m a fool”, you say, “and I don’t want to lose you.
stay here in my arms and let me hold you all night.”
“No.” I answer firmly. “No, I won’t stay here with you.”
I let you drown in your confusion and heartbreak then
for a taste of what I have drowned in these countless days and nights
and then I take your hand and pull you to me, tasting your joy,
pull you down the hall and into the room full of candlelight,
into the white sheeted bed with it’s many pillows….
into the arms that welcome you back like you had never left them
into a heart that once abandoned, breathes again and lives.
may 3, 2005
I lay my head upon your heart like I did when we were young
and new in the ways of love and you smile at me
with the smile of the man I used to know before
you became an unknowable stranger. I feel like I am suddenly
born again, emerged from the tomb of lovelessness and grief
the candle burns low but even in the growing darkness
I watch you loving me, feel you healing me with your touch
as our tears mingle there without shame now face to face….
“I love you!” we say a hundred times as the long night fades
into the rising of a different day and the sun bursts out upon
me, half expecting to wake and find it all a lovely dream
but it is no dream, it’s real, I am real again and life
has resurrected the dead. The world spins and outside our windows,
day passes and turns again to night but still we lie here
lost in love and finding all that we had lost has been restored
my hands cannot stop touching you. I will never stop touching you!
so overwhelmed am I in this gift, this answered prayer, I cannot speak
but my heart speaks for me and your attentive ear listens to every word
I feel beautiful again and so alive, the days before seem like distant memories….
love gives us life, I think and you nod as though you heard my thought
the storm comes now with thunder rolling and lightning flashing
and we lie in the noise and watch the rain drops falling down in fury
washing away the dust, washing away the pain
if I must die, let me die in this moment of life, I think
this rebirth of love and completion of the circle begun so long ago
but I will not let you die again and leave me! I will not let you go
back to that room down the hall entombed in memories
while I drown in my own tears so close to death and dreams undone….
no, I will stay here in your arms until tomorrow closes it’s doors and
bids us goodbye forever. No more dying now but life enfolds us
and that is enough. I am happy. I know joy once more in my heart….
I feel you growing sleepy but I cannot go to that realm now
I only want to lie here watching you in the flash of storm
tracing the contours of your face
and cherishing the warmth I still see there in your eyes.