At once, we are strangers — the memory of the wind blowing through stark, golden sugar maples on the side of a hill at my grandmother’s farm — you will never know. I keep this locked, a recollected pattern of neurons, hallowed, reversed, and stripped of color, like a funnel of sand. So, I dole out a speck for you, a tangle of language, a piece of recognition, my love, but you refuse with calloused hands sliding over my thighs. And this privacy of our sex, a rot of our fighting are all a mess of wires you tinker with in your velvet dark basement leaving us like two suicide bombers about to embark on immortality. But what of this shroud of place when you can gather fear like leaves meant for a pile in autumn? Like the eleven years it took to build the four-story mosque down the street? Like the open hydrant’s water that cascades into the pit of the lushest tree on the block? A love letter written on the back of a tossed envelope now litter on the street? Like the old recluse who only leaves her house at 2:30 am to buy tomato soup at that late-night bodega down the street from us? Or the azalea bush that never really bloomed this past spring? These narratives are sticky like blood. So, now, with eyes still fine from sleep, I awake and look to you and ask “do you grieve that this will never be again?”
Elisabeth von Uhl‘s work has been published in Lunch Ticket, The Cortland Review, SHIFT, Cream City Review, and other journals. Her chapbook, Ocean Sea, which was a semi-finalist in the Black Lawrence Press Chapbook Contest, has been published by Finishing Line Press. Please go to www.elisabethvonuhl.com for more information.