She'd try to make excuses but I knew it was more than wondering what to have for dinner or looking at the sky.   You're lying, Alice. Spill it.   And she would. I always knew when something awful was chasing itself round and round in her brain; she was quiet about it but to me it was always an audible signal. It amazed her and worried me. It happened so often.


(I've seen movies, I should have known what was going to happen. The lovers who think they will always be lovers - they're the ones who earn the cruel ironic twists, that's how it happens. The other half of it is that they never see it coming. They are left bruised and baffled. I played it well, I took no convincing.)


I got smug. I knew she was troubled and I would offer my hands, a backrub, a cup of tea, my shoulder, my lips, my silence, whatever fit the moment. I thought that would answer it. But you know what happened. I became her bad thoughts. And I did not know it. I had gotten through one layer of mystery and I could not imagine she was hiding anything else. I will forgive myself many things but I can't get past the cruel error of thinking she was so shallow, so flat. I was not looking up; she was flying, she was already so far away, she was gone.
She's in line for coffee. I don't want to know what she is dreaming of, but I do. I don't want to know that this is the day she leaves town on business and arrives there on pleasure. She has met someone else and just the thought it, the thought of him , makes her heart race and she pulls a strand of hair behind one ear,

he'll meet her at the airport, squeezing her waist and
putting his hand under her suitcoat, under her waistband
just for a moment.


I wish I could see her as just her as another customer-
You know, just another bagel and latte,
but I can't help but see what I see
and know what I know.
I know that her contacts are green, and not her natural color.
She appears calm, but her fingernails (bitten to the quick)betray her.
I could tell her all of this, but what would it matter?
She would still do her business, and she would she leave him.
She would still go away, and she will come back here next week.
She will stand in my line again, and tell me all of these things.
Again.
without saying a word.

Footsteps echo in night's deep
round showered droplets
leaping from leaves
shiny
green
wet
let's walk
echo my thoughts,
sit at the window
lean into the doorway
scents
night
blooming
jasmine
wafting, drifting in
Lie here with me,
watch
flickering perfect
shadows.
Candles light pathways of thought
trace your glowing body
curves
quiet
so glad to see you
murmurings
of detail,
breathe in
tranquility.


9.22.2002

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