Written for The Sunday Muse #246. Image from Surreal Photography by Oleg Oprisco.

We travelled in silence,
your skin a pale net between us
and all our stories camped
like stowaways beneath fingernail

and eyelid.  At the cabin, the lake 
wrinkled slightly with distaste
and you, unlocking the door,
let that mole on your left shoulder 

push me back.  We cooked lunch
too long and later, you disappeared
the smell of charred potato ripening
my fear.  I headed up the hill

watching the yellow summer grass
heave against a lumbering 
bulk of purple clouds. It felt
safer than your smile.  I sat by rocks

and looked back to the grimacing
water and the dun coloured sky.
And I saw you perched on roof’s pitch,
your painted pride and the lion’s glow

of your hair. It was then I recognised
that all our words had evaporated
dried up with two weeks of heat,
scant dew to distill light or

thought. Your moods scrolled
like fronds, tight and precise, 
fine as the gap between breathing
or not.  I simply offered love

the only gift I had, frantic but
desiccating and you withered, 
developed a tiny rash 
between your scapulae,

itchy as our conversations. I 
picked a daisy, beheaded it
with its own stem, and saw it
land – a face-down sun.

So I stood and waved goodbye.
I don’t know if you saw.
I began to walk 
toward the highway, 

my tears slow as November, 
craving the dash of lights, 
the smell of lead, the chalked white lines 
like footsteps leading me away.

11 thoughts on “safer

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