In which he plays an asshole, and she plays a cunt, and they both say “I love you.
In the months after she leaves,
he drags their bed into the mountains,
Where it finally dies.
He sleeps on the ground next to it
And dreams of her laughing on a cold beach.
When he wakes up he is cradling a ghost,
With no idea where he is.
He sees the bed and remembers,
Lays back in the leaves.
The mice have moved into the cobwebbed space between his ribs,
And he lays there,
Sprawled on the ground,
Listening to them root around in the unfixable darkness.
He can feel his heart,
Even from so far away,
Crashing and pounding in her bedside drawer.
She barely eats.
Wakes up crying and doesn’t know whether it is for herself, or for him.
She tries to think only of the bad times.
Buys an expensive vase so she will have something to smash when the time comes.
She gets drunk,
Sits in the cellar and looks at the unplugged phone
The way a killer looks at beauty.
She feels awful.
Thinks to herself, ‘This is the worst death I have ever died.’
He was loving even as she stuck the knife in,
Kind even as she broke off the blade.
He kissed her face even as she reached for the salt.
In which he plays a wounded dog, and she plays a brick wall.
Their bed has become a landlocked ship shorn of its bones for firewood.
Their bed has become a broken-hearted tree left last in a clear-cut graveyard.
Their bed has become a blue whale with a broken back.
When night comes in like a bruise,
They board the bed as a gallows,
Brush lips out of politeness,
And make their backs into mirrors until morning.
That their feet form a bridge between their bodies is the sole evidence of the old tenderness.
God sits watching in the corner, saying nothing.
In which he plays sunlight and she plays fresh strawberries.
Their first conversation takes place on the rim of a wineglass,
In a patch of sunflowers the size of streetlamps.
His jokes are stupid.
Her laughter is enchanting.
Under the microscope, it has all the building blocks of proper chemistry.
The bird has already been carved into her forearm with the razor blade,
And his wreckage has already washed up on too many shores.
But their old wounds are not enough to keep them from risking new ones.
When they undress each other for the first time,
It is a holy fire.
There is chest-catching grace
In their act of laying themselves bare;
In their offering of what they have;
In the simple fearlessness of choosing to love,
Despite the knowledge that sorrow, and grief, and terror
They revel in the powerful joy of their naked alchemy
In reducing the world to a room, a word, a touch.
Their bed is a smiling horse.
Their bed is a full belly.
Their bed is a kingdom, lacking nothing,
More than worth all that is to come.