The Layered Alone

Oh, the difference made
By one windy November day.
Shedding unreality,
Left with facts —
Stark and bare
Against a steel sky.
39 —
Years or degrees
And falling fast.
All the marsh music
Makes its way
To sheltered corners
And the color bleeds it dry.

We hide it well,
But are left with these —
Growing gray
And a rattling wind.
The water thickens
And geese echo high now —
Moving on
Or settling in.
And even with the window down,
I feel a fever rise
Toe to head.
I don’t want to sleep.
The doors are locking,
And maybe I am mad
For celebrating it —
Being shut out in the cold.

A long-held fear
Of catatonia
Keeps me on the move,
Driving sap
From root to branch.
They only seem to sleep.
So maybe now it’s time to trade —
Lust for loneliness,
Sweet sweat
For an iced glance.
Still the spinster,
Alone in the crowd,
Tends that secret engine
Fueled by collected lovers unseen.
As the chatter thrums ’round.
But he,
He is here
Through it all.

And here he is —
Watching, low.
He has brought me
A woolen hat,
Reminds me
That I have long been a collector
Of Novembers,
And teaches again
How to build fire.
We stand on a ridge
In the prairie wind
And he points out
All the subtle shades —
Beautiful browns and grays.
Embraces me again
With sacred words.
We are on the outside now,
Addicted to silhouettes,
And our familiars merge.

Red-tailed hawk
On a twisted branch,
And another taking flight.
And again.
The thorny things that
Pull away guarded layers
Meant to hide
All of these
In the chattering world —
Wires and signals,
Futile noise,
Endless small talk,
We might get lost.
But out here
Our accidental liaisons
Shadow us
Showing us
That solitude is merely
A forgetting.

And it doesn’t really matter
If his thin hands
On my face
Are thought-dream
Or truth.
Even in this time
When we are stripped
And bare to the bone,
There has never been
Such a thing
As alone.


About Emily

I may or may not have: A. Dirt B. Ink C. Paint D. Wool under my fingernails.

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