Submerge

He didn’t glance back before falling forward
Into the still unknown of shocking cobalt.
Crystalline blue.

No one there to fuss or hold him
No one to cry out at just the right moment
Into the midnight afternoon breeze –
Please stay.

For those he’d loved always, eventually
Let go of his hand.
Left him stranded.
Cast away.

And when he realized this, his fate
He’d grieved. Hardened.
Become impenetrable stone.
Then (against even the quirkiest laws of nature)
Frozen to fragile ice, cracked, shattered.

If not submerged within this serene, sharp sapphire
Where else was he meant to be?

Written for dVerse, an ekphrastic poem responding to a work of art. Here that work is a beautifully complex, yet simple, evocative painting by Fay Collins

Particulate

It takes all my strength to close the bedroom window with a dignified, deliberate movement. I want to make noise. I want to slam the window shut, shatter the glass, scream through the fractured pane, shove my arm into the opening and watch as jagged edges slice into my skin and draw bright red blood.

“I’ve got to go now, babe. He’s expecting me to be home at five-thirty so we can take the kids to the movies.”

“Call me on Friday, Susan? I miss you when we go too long without …” I can’t finish my sentence. And anyway, she knows what I want. She knows far too well that her presence in my paper bag life has replaced the bumps of coke that used to push me through these endless nights.

She leaves me again, her shadow disappears down the hall and out the door. I’m left alone in bed to wonder why I wait for her return. What part of me cannot exist without wanting someone this much? Is it my heart, my brain, my DNA?

I light a cigarette. The first heady drag of biting smoke burns deep into my lungs but I continue to puff until my throat feels as ragged and itchy as the thoughts in my head.

smoke

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