Sunday, September 4, 2011

I do not call you by name

I do not call you by name, not even in narrow solitary vaults that tempt sorrows into utterance, not even among those to whom I might feign possession, not even when you’re walking away and I stutter into a silence that mysteriously stuns you into turning around. 

I’m closest to you when you’re at a distance that fills my gaze with a searching that sears, closest when your face spins into sight from afar, like a distant star, cold and pale with everlasting light, entrapped within a telescope rim.

 Nights like these keep my doors swinging with a song-shushing wind, a rain-emptied that sets leaves aflutter with ghosts. The moon has chosen other windowsills for frames and I fall asleep under a sky bare as a newly vacated house, pungent with the varnish of hope and hollow with the disappearance of familiar starchart-biding footsteps. I dream, like Greek heroes of old, of choosing between two doors, one that hides death within and another you. But wakefulness falls upon me like a sword before I choose.

And when you speak to me with the dust of others’ smiles upon your brow, the crumpled flower of another’s homage around your wrists, your feet awash with the shadows of strangers, I want to say your name aloud.

When I’m gone, will he memorize the delicious cadences your wordless “hmm-uh-hmm” sentences as note-perfectly as I have, sentences that bubble with meanings of my own making, or measure with tender half-glances that tilt of your head that forebodes refusal, or will he know by the floating fireflies in your eyes that you’re keeping a smile within check. When I’m gone, will he love the sung-to-shreds syllables of an almost-musical name enough to set it to yet another song?