the gift of abandonment

July 25, 2009 § Leave a comment

The cicadas shed their skins and abandon them on every surface; these are the shape of summer. Their bodies hang like apparitions of the night from the limbs of your crippled oak. Nobody, no body moves in the thick of this heat. Just last week, you trapped the heat in your forehead and it took six days to rid you of it.

Since then, your body has not been the same. Your eyes would close with each small vibration of the air: the parting of the lips, the curling of a finger, the quiet lifting of the heel. All of these adjustments like some cosmic choreography.

Your eyes, now, they refuse to open. When I lie next to you on the floor of our bedroom, with the coolness of the wood pressed up against my shoulder blades, unyielding to the curve here, the curve there of the body, your hot hands quiver as you search for a trace of heat between my legs. But I have none.

One morning, I woke up and your hand was not resting on the flesh of my hip, I could not hear your lips parting as you breathed in your sleep. The only thing left of you was the darkened outline of your shape along the wood grain of the floorboards where you had sweat, where you had slept.

When I walked into the kitchen, I could smell you. When I walked into the hallway, I could smell you. I followed you out of our window; you—a light thing—were carried out by a pull of air. The walls breathed in, and they blew you out. I followed you out of the doorway and into the street, into cars who screamed past me with great velocity. I wish I could have measured your velocity that day.

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