Despite the hosing, stems still cling to their cobwebs. Strands draped between limbs, threads quivering in a threat to untangle. Roses grow thirsty again in a moment, stripped out of their petals heat caught up on their thorns. A lessening, in want of more.
All corridors run back to you, though they say loss gets less the longer you let it sit. And you’ve been sitting here, in this hollow you left for a while now Just a slither of yourself with no new words to say that might explain this empty. And barricades don’t keep the door from banging open, every time a storm or gentle breeze blows in. It only takes a name, or a memory, to raise your shade. So I given up airing out this room with all your secrets. Leave another hole in the wall the same shape as my fist, pretend I haven’t when the moments leaves. Re-watch you walk in sit down pick up your drink. Re-watch you pick up your drink.
They hire him to take up gravestones in old cemetery grounds. Pay him by the hour, to tease out lichen lost names, note them, in neat, thin rows of records only his eyes will read, and murmur each syllable into the fresh split of dark soil before the groundsman comes with his sack of grass seed, already whistling to no one at all.
The fridge stinks again, the thing lolling at the back, sweating, sickly sweet, cling film wrapped and taunting as if to say ‘this is just your desert for peeling me down till we both cried shameless, and you held a knife like a question.’
Why do that to yourself? Play around with perfection, even if it was only skin deep, and the smoothness of these curves turned your stomach at night, when dusk settles its hands either side of your hips, presses into the grooves where his tools worked you into beauty. Mounted you his sculpture for all men to see. Do you not appreciate how his love made you into a woman worth seeing?
She call them lollygagger, adjusted the folds of her scarf, let them watch her fingers trace the sweep of her collarbone like a wink but not an invitation. Clutched at the other hand with smaller, damp digits unsure eyes flickered from her to the jackal-backed boys circling their cigarettes, tongues dragging across their teeth. Nothing to be afraid of dear.
One of the men lifted his head and looked at me as we sloped past the ash fields, and rows of toilers like grey bamboo canes if bamboo was stooped and bent with brittle hands knuckle white against the plastic handled hoes. Her hands, smaller, firmer, sure, came down on my shoulders shadowed his face with fear. An explanation in a classroom pretending it isn’t an excuse claims to be progress, claims to be a new world built on the broken bones of the last. Mothers scream during childbirth. There is blood and pain and sometimes death. We are lucky we are not all toiling. If the old world had their way who knows what would have happened? We are smarter these days we can laugh at the facts that shattered when the world changed. Who know what will happen at the next night rise.
Stung between garden fences twilight coaxed you outside, to the square of wilding lawn uncut from summer’s end, the coils of wood smoke streaked with petrol rising above an evening glow of light behind closed panes as one by one they too flickered out.
You. It’s burnt into my memory that open mouthed gape swallowing my words, and the back turned mid-sentence on an answer to a question you had asked only for the slow spin, arm triangled over your head as you scratched your scalp, and those frown scrunched nostrils somehow still flared in a state of confusion when I refused to speak to a man not facing me.
And I wondered if the sight of me wavering excited you. Like a candle flame dancing, your palm held just inside the heat. Contemplating the risk of snuffing me out altogether. Extinguishing that light with one blow one fist closing tight. Did I excite? Not the exact word for tonight’s Quadrille prompt, but a form of it is there, and according to the rules that’s alright.