She said to me, this is why
you start the ignition and drive
never far enough
the feeling of mud stuck in your wheels
when you find you’ve been stopped
a god-awfully long time at crossroads
watching emptiness
hypnotized by blink in and out of hooded light
amber in raptured darkness
a welcome, a warning, a half-moon or pecked ball of cheese
the days you used to eat diary and wear
push-up bras and frilly skirts with Wellington’s
climb the clouds
invest in heavy coats and lace up boots, the end of the world is nigh
where did your combat go?
as you sat watching life blink and slow
what year, what day? what hour ceased your climb?
did you know? Or was it something stealthy and unobserved?
crawling up your corseted will and into your slack mouth
waiting to be re-charged
finding power in the notion
nobody’s listening
other cars go past
some race, some idle, there are sunday drivers and seekers
church goers, drive-in’s, back-seaters
there are race-cars and old vintage trucks with their bellies full of stories
home paint jobs and clean-cut straight from the shop
the latter go to the Wash Tub nearly every week to ensure
their interiors are spotless
and you? Are your insides up to par? inspection? White glove test?
how much dust and debris have you collected and stored beneath your wings?
now coiled in retreat like parts of an engine without spark
do your chairs sag from too much sitting?
has your key grown rust and your feet lost their motion?
as you lull yourself with colors against soaping dark
go, consider, stop, go, consider, stop, go, consider, stop
you idled
engine running a purr into long painted lines
thin women without succor holding their empty bellies up against moonlight
did you consider?
this is your only time
no more is left after the bowl is licked and scraped and washed
set to dry and be re-used by someone with more gumption
in their sunday shoes
when did you remove the will, the effort, the urge
replacing it as you would a hub cap with something less polished
so you would not be noticed, fall in with leaves collected in plastic bags
collected at curb side
would you recognize
your own self ten years ago?
arms filled with bangles of silver
hair braided to kink and denote
fire in your belly, longing in your chest
here is the shimmer of the undimmed
climbing trees in their favorite
church dress getting branches in their hair
you and I ate cherries and plums
the sweet from the marrow of Jamaican sugar cane
baked by a fitful city left to burgeon
music from a dozen sources, the resin and hum
you hennaed my fingers and I shared my belief
this moment could be stretched to eternity
lying with my head in your patchouli lap
feeling the move and sway of need in us both
to uncover the secret
to living
then you were gone
I mended myself imperfectly
with mincemeat and old Christmas crackers
that had not struck their gun powder
nor cracked in explosive alchemy of two people pulling from either end
a wish bone sucked clean
what do you wish for?
I wished for a map
draw my direction in red
like the tongue of your hair caught under spotlight
I learned to drive
you learned to walk
with each determining we split, like dried corn will
after being soaked and then left to burn
lights blink
lost and found
a mitten on tarmac
a bag of garbage
one lens from a pair of glasses
adverb and pronoun
we each saw correction differently
you still dance
when the brass band strikes a tune
you merge into the crowd
lifting your arms above your head
my silver still slipping on your wrists
your disapproval branding
the center of my forehead
you sold out” you mouth
losing your way deliberately
you thought by cutting the string, tying it to a tree in a wood, you’d forget where you came from
all you did was create another way to suffer all your own
you were once part of a tribe
daubed in blue and saffron women of islands and sea skirmish
fearing nothing but rocks, jagged and monstrous
and even as we hesitated
we urged ourselves forward
now you sit
idling in a warm car on a tepid night with windows down
listening to a station play unfamiliar discordant tunes
and the headlights of other cars
passing you by on the outside lane
are the faces of those you gave away
when you emigrated in reduction
like the sauce of ourselves
left too long on the high flame
will burn and stick
unable to be