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A novel in verse … and the writing thereof
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Damages

So I’d been wrong. There was no respite

     and no end, and so

there was no safety, now or here

     or anytime or anywhere, and I

might as well

go back to bed and stay there.

I felt numb, except

     numbness shouldn’t

hurt this much. My eyes ached as though

all night I’d been

     counting grains of sand by candle light.

Even in bed there seemed to be

no rest, although I did

sometimes do something I suppose

resembled sleeping.

The first two times

Cory knocked I

               sent him away, but the third

he would not go, and

     even though I merely

crawled back in the bed, my face

to the wall, he refused

     to be ignored, his arms

scooping me up, the warmest

thing I could imagine. He

draped me across his chest and

     held me there, not talking,

till I started

     to cry. Then it seemed

I’d never stop.

When I did, more or less, I

     told him the story,

and said, I wanted to get married, now, and

go away, I’d had enough

     of this war, I couldn’t bear it

any longer.

Shh, he said. Yes. As soon as he was

     discharged, and they said

it would be any day now, we would

get married and

drive away, “into the dawn,” he said,

“like cowboys in reverse.”

I got so still he studied my face and asked,

     “What’s wrong?”

“I’m just trying to see it,” I said.

“Do you ride them facing backwards, or do they

     gallop backwards, like in the movies when they put

     the reel in wrong?”

“I’ll have to study up on that one,” he said,

     “and I’ll require some food to fuel my fires while I do.

Come on, kid, let’s go et somethin’.”

“Okay,” I said, the memory of hunger in my mind

     drawing me out

               into the night.

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