Here is the long work that was in progress along the way through Europe. Not perfect, but I like it. Please comment — would love to hear feedback. Thanks —
A Dozen Days (Without You)*
Tuesday, April 18
Below me, green velvet.
Above me, palest blue sky. Then nothing.
But here, trapped in this missile that
shoots me away from you,
I feel death’s hot breath at my neck
with every bump and shimmy.
Each moment expands, an elastic eternity,
and I am cold and drugged and wondering.
Cassiopeia hangs like a bat in the dark.
I awaken at dawn at the top of the world,
my face inches from a stranger.
Wednesday, April 19
Nude statues recline, their flaccid manhood
forever captured in stone.
Everything tastes of you today:
what I would see or do, were you here.
My hand curls to twin with yours;
the pillow at my back no proxy.
Thursday, April 20
My poem for today:
Friday, April 21
When night falls, the lights go on in the park.
The birds call at daylight
with the sharp pitch of a pennywhistle.
I long for sleep, the hotel hallways banging
with German teens and drunken laughter.
In my dream, I’m carrying a child on my hip.
My hand shades my eyes, my breasts full with milk.
Streetlight stares through my window.
Paris traffic thrums like a headache.
You crouch like a schoolboy,
clad in black and white in a green field,
laughing as your glove cradles the ball.
Saturday, April 22
A man is walking in the fields
on the chalk road beside the new growth.
His shirt is blue, his hat
white, or gray, or tan,
bleached like the earth in sunlight.
Hawthorn blooms; gorse and the yellow
dust of acacia in flower line the parcel.
A copse of birch and oak at the margin
could well have hidden Resistance fighters,
given cover to British paratroopers shot from the sky.
Bretons, Romans, Celts or cavemen –
legions have passed across these fields.
I am crossing borders, writing across miles.
You, there, bloodwarm,
Rising from sleep.
Sunday, April 23
The bed is soft, the
duvet warm, the
coffee hot, the
sunlight dimmed by curtains still drawn,
Sunday papers yet bundled,
waiting like a present to be opened.
We drowse entwined
while the telephone
Ecstasia (Monday, April 24)
You sit, a yogi,
legs crossed. I sit astride you,
our bellies touching.
Your fingers play my spine;
your jaw sandpapers my cheek,
I can’t hold you hard enough,
want to climb inside your very skin,
want to eat you,
take you inside me like
become One with you.
In the mirror we are
Two, or three. Or one.
Indulge Me (Tuesday, April 25)
In the city of seven hills,
rain rattles like a bead curtain.
Stones gleam in the wet.
The cobbled alleys blow empty
as we maze our way back,
cocked for the echo of voices
from another street.
We cliché our cliché as we cliché,
collect another image for a European scrapbook —
thoughts and ideas I do not want to forget,
what has been seen and written a multitude of ways,
though not by me.
And I lie here in bed,
trucks rumbling in the street and
the sound of someone’s footsteps in the hall,
and try to write Hemingway’s one true thing.
The one thing about it that’s true.
What Are You Doing Right Now? (Wednesday, April 26)
I midnight upon your morning
and rise upon your set;
I wake against your sleep
and dream throughout your daytime.
We are upside each other,
shadowing movements, silence,
motion or stillness.
Our bodies are silhouettes
puppeting one another,
sweet and bitter
as rosebuds and
Bring those lips,
Across the world
I reach for you.
Thursday, April 27
In my dream, we were
swimming in the warm salt sea.
The baby had two new teeth.
You were holding her
round head above the water.
The light hurt our eyes.
Then we set her in the sand, in the hot shade,
and you took me with a fierceness
I’ve never known, your hands and mouth alive on my face,
tearing at me, hungry.
I’ve never seen such
wanting in your eyes.
Friday, April 28
Yesterday I walked among old friends,
familiar faces in the Portrait Gallery,
and remembered each one with
joy at our reunion –
the snail on the wall,
the country dance,
the loneliness of the English manor,
the way they cut when you fall short,
the green fields, the rain.
The poetry. Oh, the poetry.
The rain again.
I pray before each icon,
bowing like a postulant.
Saturday, April 29
I can’t count the days,
just twelve, but I called it two weeks.
Numbers are hieroglyphs to me,
and so I round or estimate,
overspend and underbudget,
think I won’t mind but I do,
and it’s been an eternity since I saw you,
a fortnight minus two,
a dozen days without you,
a dozen nights alone,
oceans and rivers and raindrops
now binding, puddling,
joining in a deluge
of you, finally, you.
* With many thanks to the late, beautiful Anne Sexton and her series, 18 Days Without You.