Thomas Gillaspy © 2014 All Rights Reserved
When it rained in Sicily, the boats dropped from the docks like great seals that had been slaughtered to punish time for slipping. Every man had one arrow and one oar, one to get home, one to make a woman tell her child that the sea had swallowed everything but love. But who among us was left to sit in the gardens of Troy, after those nights when the moon appeared in the shape of desire. Desire like a seed like a girl. Desire like the eyes that turn you into a water breather. Unholy desire that makes Venus punish you with desire for desire. O sea graspers, stop us before we see the gardens, they wailed, leaving only me to tell, sick with it all, and nothing to do but search for the woman who would listen and not look away with disgust.
* * *
When the past did a back flip, I remembered the circus, how they said it set out from Carthage with lots of tricks and colored cloth and animals that looked at you cross-eyed. When I was a boy, the moon moved so strangely, skimming the surface of the night skies and seeming to dip into the River Numicius. Oh, the moon, the moon, who knows why it slipped into that subtle tear in the sky and didn’t come back until the healing year of acrobatic love. Now, I love wine as much as the next tumbler, and I think about a woman whose eyes could see though me, around me and into my shoes. My soles were full of water in the morning. The branches dripped with her lemon-scented dew. She told me I would only remember her the way she prophesied until I found her refusing to bloom. “Sister, not so fast,” says I. “I wouldn’t cross you, but I’d be tempted to cross the river, by you. Towards Anio, from Rome.”
* * *
After the blood boils and cools, after the sky screams through itself, like giant neighbors with thin walls and thin skins, after Heracles looks at what he’s done, and the cops come and everyone shakes their head, after the chant of exponential pain-songs, horror movie noises that you think can kill the virus in your heart, after you’ve said “you” like a pointed stick in the eye more times than Penelope looked out her window and said, “suffocate the flowers till morning again, trim my nails, and cut the head off another honey dove,” after the car in the driveway has pulled away at three a.m. and the sheets changed, after you tell me your love is a sea of lemongrass that the Gods will only replenish with my blood, will you dress for the day, walk out into that flat morning light that your mother blew down from the foothills, and be satisfied with the strange silence right before the first sirens seem to whisper in the distance?
David Lazar’s books include Occasional Desire (Nebraska), The Body of Brooklyn and Truth in Nonfiction (both Iowa) and Powder Town (Pecan Grove). Forthcoming are After Montaigne (Georgia) and Who’s Afraid of Helen of Troy (Etruscan Press). He is the founding editor of the literary magazine Hotel Amerika.
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