Postcard Sestina

by Alissa Pagano

I saw your airplane stark against the late rose-purple
sky. Up into the air I blew my hapless goodbye
kiss, and forgave you. Remember the skin
of the sea the day we met? Freckled with diving birds, eager
to eat. And you...always leaving your bitter taste behind.
The sweetness, like waves, recedes, and is gone.

At time of writing your damn collie's gone
and run off again. We've got the neighbors looking. The Red
Cross had to pay postage on this but the apples taste
crisp like they haven't in years. It should be a good buying
season.  Come home soon. Don't let those other birds shoot
you out of the sky or I'll skin you.

Like evening coffee doused with cream are all the skins
here. They look at me from on top their scrunched noses, like I'm dairy gone
bad in the ice box. I shoot them the bird
when they turn  their  backs and the hungry black
crows open their mouths and laugh with me. I can't say goodbye
soon enough. My tongue is heavy with a bile taste ...

Please write. I'm sorry I yelled. I knew you had a taste
for blades, a penchant for flames—your skin
whispered it thickly even if you never did. I wanted to do good by
you but I did good wrong and I woke up with your suitcase gone
and the morning mourning. The windows shouted. Loud, gray
tears  slapping  against the glass. The small birds danced.

The constellations flew last night. Hot, white birds
frozen in tight formation. I thought of you. Of the taste
pooled on the soft insides of your joints. The cool blue
pulse your veins beat against your papery moon skin.
A new moon, as it were. When that great flash bulb's gone
for a coffee break. She never says hello or goodbye.

You must understand. I didn't run away. Without a goodbye?
I ran away without a goodbye. You can't expect a taxidermied bird
to open its mouth when  it can hardly open its wings. I've gone
long enough collecting dust and choking on the taste
my naught-life  leaves coating my larynx.  Skin
is the principal component of dust. And so we are.
Don 't write back. Violet

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