THE FIRST TIME SHE KNOWS
As she is falling asleep, she is hit by her body
being too big, like a child's
bed being overtaken by the body of an adult.
A pitiful and demented sight!
In the night of this new place, sounds rush
like water into the bedroom, drenching her
with the noise of men in urinal stalls, blue ones
making love to their lovers, people debating
the precise moment a girl is a girl no longer.
She is too big for this bed, she is no longer a child
to believe that wishes are promises are words
or words mean anything whether spoken or not.
She is no longer a child to believe that as she lies
there not sleeping, too big in her bed,
that others are not sleeping because of thoughts of her.
So sad as a child the first time she knows.
A HEART MADE OF STRING
Before dissection, the specimen appears
to be a heart made of string. A knot of hemp, perhaps,
tangled, heart-shaped. But once cut open, itŐs clear
that it is a heart all right, with blood and blood
near your hands. You can see now that the string had
wrapped round and round, binding, bound
like a marriage vow. String pulled through and over,
tight and tighter -- if a heart could breathe, this one
would not have been able to. You find the end
of the rope, hold and pull it. It comes out in one
and the heart lies, open, quiet, hers, resting.
In pieces, in peace for once and for all.
A moment ago I couldn't shut
my mouth any more than you
could stop your hands.
My voice chased you into corners,
you thought. You thought. You thought.
I never said what was in that open mouth.
I never said; I couldn't shut up.
Now it's darker and somehow you've resolved
what you thought. You've shut off the light,
ready to be rid of words for some hours.
But I'm at the edge of the bed,
awake with what you didn't hear.
One of us is rocking.
You are falling asleep.
TRICKERY OF THUMBS
Oh the technology that lies within an adultererŐs arsenal!
The ability to hold your mouth, the words out of your mouth,
your fingers, the buttons your fingers push, against my body --
to have those sounds and meanings on my person at all times,
everywhere and anywhere, a wealth of betrayal and wonder.
But as things become more complicated, there are of course
more complications and more opportunities for sadness, for guilt,
for capture as my body vibrates from our abbreviated contact.
I suppose sometimes simpler is better -- glances and alleys
have worked for years and were my first weapons of choice.
But you are younger and you understand these things differently.
I canŐt always move fast enough to explain how I feel about
wanting two, wanting sea, wanting you.
© Christine Brandel 2006