I knew her, once,
An alabaster form with liquid skin
Supple to the touch, and warm;
And lips retaining pensive breath
That but for the heat within her lungs
Could not be sensed
In that tender proximity to her still,
Kitten-like nostrils. I knew
Behind the iris of the eyes
That pierced my longing own
In our primal bed – before a distant hence –
A trying soul, a good heart, I knew.
Yet somehow, well beyond my reach,
Within and hidden in that heart,
Like a long-buried slit on a sapling bud,
Sinewy with time and roughed by the elements,
Quietly splitting it’s tenuous seam, it trickled
The long internal bleeding that would undo
The trying soul, and good heart I knew.
I did not see, and only sensed
By the growing rancor of her manner,
By the lurid ache about our bed,
The sea of bleeding within her soul,
Kept and compressed for such a time,
As glaciers form, formed onyx in her veins
As who I’d known, from the inside out,
As though at long, dreamy glances of Medusa,
Died, and turned to stone.
But molten, as it were, when within reach
Of any other man
On whom to relive the secret violence
Of slitting the buds of saplings,
Thinking it were love.
The form I knew still moves,
But it’s a winter storm that falls
From above the lips; behind
The iris of the eyes nothing left
To see, but hard onyx framing
The alabaster shell,
Like the casket in a funeral
That, open, will not end.