I sit, staring at the horizon, counting the waves and the flickers of light from another sunset. I gather my limbs and wrap them around me to embrace the approaching night. They walk past; children, couples and dogs, dare not look at the body turning to beach, but stare out to the same sea. Their eyes are not searching; they see the sun and the coast; they don’t count the waves.
A few nights ago, when my lips crumbled, I had resolved to leave. But I saw a hand out there by the ships; or was it a bird.. then I noticed the seagulls flying off with my feet and I resolved to stay.
There’s a beach near St Ives where we sat one clear night in September. You won’t remember it, but you were there, leaning on a rock too close to the waves and the water filled your trainers and I laughed, alone..
There’s a bar in Naples near the gulf, where we sat drinking Merlot one rainy afternoon. You won’t remember it, but you were there, the wine left crimson marks on the corners of your lips and I laughed, alone..
There’s a lake in Annecy where we hired a boat and wandered. You won’t remember it, but you were there, it started to rain and the water dripped from your curls and I laughed, alone..
I’m still chosing the place to let go of your ghost..
And slowly, like the movement of a living statue, the feathers began to fall from her wings; Each floated and danced through the still air, until they were all gathered around her feet and covered in dark blood, leaving only frail bones extending from her ribs and hanging ghastly.
In the same manner the stars began to flicker in her eyes, then bursting and dying one after another, some left unnoticeable brown and green nebulas across her pupils, while others only deep patches of perfect darkness.
She began to rip out and break the fragile bones hanging from her back , and when she finished, she stepped out from pile of stained white as if it were a discarded dress. She blinked,wiping away the marks of late stars from her eyes.
When I wake from the dream and wrap my body in the fading warmth of your ghost. You bleed through my pores and my limbs tense as I wait for the longing to fade..
I stare at my naked refection, see your hands on my neck and grasp them, but they fall through my fingers like sand. I see your head on my shoulder, your lips curved into a tortured smile and my body trembles and begs to shake you off.
It’s one of those days when your name lingers on my tongue like warm honey, and your resurected whispers turn the air to black smoke in my lungs.
I can’t hear the song in my bones anymore. It was loud when you came and it screamed through my veins when you left. Now it bleeds, faintly, from my ears when I hear your name and I shut it out.
I kill the violins every morning when my arms search my body for you and they find the tune in every piece of skin you touched. I wash it off, I peel it away.
I believed, like a fool, that I could make you go since you left. I believed I could be rid of you. But you live in the corner of my eye and in the tips of my fingers. You live, devil, and I fear that death itself can’t be rid of you.
And there, on the edge of the high hotel bed – holding your head against my chest, curling your hair around my fingers – my heart learned a new rhythm. It’s a strange beat, uneven and convulsive. It shoves the blood to my head and halts the air in my lungs, numbs my fingers.
When I remember the look in your eyes or the reflections, the damned thing beats as if it wants to come out. It rings in my ears and shakes in my limbs, turns me stupid. I stand and I stare; I wait for the madness to ease, but lately it seems to grow longer.
I wish I could restore the old rhythm, but it’s lost. I left it at the door when I couldn’t knock. I left it on the bathroom sink when I sprayed your perfume on my arm and it burned; it still burns…
That night – our last – I cried in the shower, watching you wash off my burning skin, not knowing that you had crawled under it. I can still smell the perfume in the same place, where the skin is now peeling.
I said it.
Threw it in the grave, a handful of earth.
Whispered it from the noose, a last word.
I don’t know what to say to you. There are words rotting in my throat that I can’t let go, and they burn my lungs as I hold them. The fire you carried on your skin lit my eyes, but hell bloomed from it when you left..