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.
When it was good he could trace his name through freckles on her back. Could see all the ways he belonged in that bed, with her, in that house. Until belong became belong to, possession possessed in that bed, in that house by her.
Some days I don’t need a husband I need scaffolding. So I can tend to the broken, the busted windows the cracking paint, the guttering that doesn’t drain when the rain comes in and all the sediment circling the drain but never quite clearing. Some days I need that from you, and nothing more.
We did not so much fall as… saunter vaguely downwards, wrapped up in each other. You brought the sky along, strung like a child’s balloon. We did not so much fall as… Drifted like seeds let loose, wandered a little lost, wrapped up in each other. Settled, we marked here a strip of green we’d found, we did not so much fall as… Play house and families. Make believe until made real, wrapped up in each other. Whispered this is what souls are made of. We did not so much fall as wrap up in each other. Day Five’s prompt is to include one of the following (1) the villanelle form, (2) lines taken from an outside text, and/or (3) phrases that oppose each other in some way. Now I’m aware that this is not a perfect Villanelle. I was halfway through the draft before I’d realised that I’d forgotten about the rhyming scheme but since I’m not a fan of rewriting to make something rhyme I decided to …
Does it count as taking your time, pausing between each item fingers on clasps, heartbeat a tempo dancing beneath the skin in a skip, skip rhythm I felt against my breastbone. Slid my foot along the seat of a chair like the one I sat in, bare skin cold against the plastic. Counted the buttons, two, four, six, stopped when they ran out and fabric hung loose from my shoulders. Open. Parted my thighs the same, slow, or maybe fast, the motion of it blurred in memory distracted by your face close to mine. Open mouthed. Kissed you, slowly. Open legs. I won’t say what we did next.
So I blamed you, because it was easy, sweeter on the tongue. Didn’t have the bite of admitting I could have been wrong. I’ve just been writing up three longish poems so I felt something short and sweet was in order tonight.
I’ve kept all the pieces of you that I could find. Stored them safely, wrapped away in a box somewhere hidden and warm, until I can remember how the puzzle goes and slot you back into yourself, a little more fragile perhaps but whole again.
I do not love you like the ocean, I’m much too scared of drowning. Instead I love you like a battered paperback, small enough to pocket on walks from dorm rooms to lecture halls. I love like the blanket my housemate bought me, too pink to be polite but a soft cucoon against my skin warm on cold winter nights. I love you like anything that can be forgotten tucked away or to one side, but hangs around in the quiet moments still very much alive. I do not love you like life itself, but I love you a little like breath. In the same way that I do not think about it, in the same way that to not would be nonsense in the same way that I don’t know how to stop without the pressure in my chest building to a point where I think I might shatter me pieces. I suppose I love you a little like breathing. I do not love you like the ocean though. With you I have never …
The ripples are gone when I look, searching the water for a slip of silver twisting back on itself leaping skyward in panic or ecstasy perhaps. I think about you and I, or at least the phantom of us that clings to my lungs on slow days, crawls onto my shoulders to press my face down, down, down, down where I deserve to be when my own body twisted back on itself, my mouth searching for a way to swallow the words I’d spoken, to return them to the saftey of unspoken rather than the spotlight of my glowing red cheeks as I fumbled to dress myself in what I thought was maturity. I can feel nails along my spine, when I think of how much I wanted to be loved.
The cobbles run uneven here, sloped and sinking slowly like a old man finally easing, breathing out and falling into the cushions of an armchair. When the rain comes quick and sudden, the street darkens to pitch and the rivers between the stones shimmer with stars thrown from shop windows, as the street lamps lean in closer and watch you skim across the water always too quick for me to save the picture.