The sawed-off legs ached to walk to the house of the beloved and climb the tree ladder to his second house in the stars with their indelible sequences.

Up there, we dreamed of being off the grid, sailing across the Mediterranean from country to country, living in languages we didn’t know, kissing beneath stained glass windows depicting holy men and books of wisdom.

Even the sepulchers lacked sadnesses that would fill in much later.  

Severed arm stumps throbbed to wrap around the beloved’s torso, a sculpture at one’s hands, seemingly missing, too, with desire’s own heartbeats, pulsating with an urgency to be recognized.  

Some memories hurt the core underneath the stomach and caused a wincing at the scent of his cologne in a crowd of strangers, the gesture of his hands contemplating the universe out loud.

Over and over, the memories distilled to postcards with no addresses that would curl up in a box under the bed.

It was hard to breathe without trees and bird trills. The birds vacated quickly with the first signs of industrial saws, the workers in fluorescent jackets.

The absent music left the silence of being deaf after being able to hear; one looked frantically for the volume dial to supply instances with a soundtrack to amplify potential feeling.

Despair could be a name for emptiness or the fear of never getting anything right, the way the night felt in the forest before all the floors fell out, the sinkholes left by tree stumps and private burials.

It was like looking for the dead in a pile of photographs, aching to hear their voices, be in the presence of the ones who seemed to perfect us, dance in a proliferation of mirrors.

The phantom limbs were ghosts that walked right through us with the winds of small sabotages.

The postcards could be sent to his last known address; the treehouse could be stalked at night until the police came.

It was so difficult to differentiate everything that rose to the surface to be named–even colossal throbbing absences.

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  1. This is reminiscent of Crete or the Peloponnese, th amphorae e amphorae that fill
    Goblets of baked, Attic clay with wine
    For King Minos before Mycenae or Queen Jane of Helena
    Alone on the alabaster cliffs overlooking
    Azure circumstances, the fine distinction between
    War and peace, passion and love
    And the rest.

  2. Krysia Jopek says:

    This is a beautiful poem [riff]. Thank you! I love your knowledge of ancient civilization, mythology, the Classics, and philosophy.I was afraid you stopped following me. Phew.

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