The book was laid open beside your head, which was
turned sideways so that you blew a wind of breath
across its face as you slept. Once again you slept where you fell,
a shadow of an angel collapsing in a corner, onto stone, with your
window shades shut to words and the
dimming amber of light that deliquesced itself onto the walls and floor
of your bedroom. This time was a record: you’d fallen into dreams
less than five feet from your own bed. We laughed, and
left you sleeping.
Too soon, your eyes would become dreams,
your breath would become the west wind, and
your feet would become sky. I wonder if you ever saw
the ring, the ring, that fucking ring, the thing
that was made of gold but smelt of hellfire, the kind that
clings to your clothes long after you’ve left that bed of brimstone. The
Devil’s touch, the hiss of his fingertips on your skin. I
know that there had to be a collection of rubbers
like collapsed and used souls that lay spent in little piles of mass dead
on the floor next to the bed – but I was no more clean for the deed
by their little sacrifices. But when you are eighteen,
you at least believe that the little wedding ring made you
clean in your naïve fucking. When it fails, you pawn it, take your $46.50,
and flee. Which is what I did.
© 2010 Nicole Nicholson. All Rights Reserved.
Schomburg instructed us to write a poem in two parts: the first as a missive to someone we knew personally who has died, about a memory that you and that person shared; and the second, a confession about a wrong, a misdeed, generally something for which you hold some guilt.
I’ve decided not to reveal the backstory behind either stanza until a sufficient number of you have come by, read, and commented. I won’t spoil this with an explanation until then…or maybe at all. I haven’t decided yet. This is very personal. But I hope you do enjoy the poem.