You sigh, picking at the scab
of a wound deep inside you.
The blood flows in a single tear.
Smoke blows from my mouth,
drifting in the form of a lost lover
over plates and bottles, then he fades,
leaving you and me. We stare far away.
The room tilts as a blood-red glass
crashes to the floor, and I reach
for her, knowing she understands,
revolving warped on vinyl that’s been
everywhere I have and survived,
You know how far gone I am
whenever I need to hear her.
She’s like an obsession, squirming alone
on sweaty sheets—she embroiders
her guts with a knife for a needle.
So we are not alone,
as she reaches into her enraged diaphragm
for longing rolls of resignation,
questioning and rising to an answer
in a pitch that excruciates,
jangling from her breath to ours,
tearing our mouths open in a gasp
that quivers, splintering alongside
her exquisitely trained trills.
As she pauses, cellos brood over
this private moment twisting with bass
and baritone harmony, and we wait for her,
standing and mouthing her defiance
as gowns and coloured lights flicker
on our bodies instead of just T-shirts,
turning any lingering of sadness
into something like Callas singing
at a crumbling La Scala. Eyes glow,
and emaciated bodies breathe more deeply now,
as we sing with her in the ruins
of a war that’s over at last.
I see your body inflate with her emotion
as she gallops, sweating blood
like a thoroughbred,
cascading in a resounding canter
ever faster to her shattering
Applause? Stamping? Brava! Brava!?
Not quite. Just a cracked needle.
We are bewildered.
Greasy dinner plates, almost-empty bottles.
I pour and we drink,
suddenly choking in crazy laughter.
Can we ever train our pain
and wonder to weave an illusion
as rich as this? Rest well, Maria