That night the air stank, the stars obscured behind wild horses of clouds. I walked on cobblestones on the edge of something I could not name: new land of unalterable decisions like a retinue of assassins coming right for me, who kept coming in a bad dream that dissolved like a black-and-white movie, the dark mouth enveloping the entire screen. The End. Then the aftermath like a heroin addict waking up in the overgrowth of a river path, no longer young. There are nights that pummel your life, chart an alternate course unasked for and colorless—the way it was the first time you encountered the one ready to eat out your heart— an innocent remark—a joke about ocelots or the weeds of purple carrots. That night I was caught in a before and after, an unsayable horror film of half-lives as we hipswayed and grunted along the Seine. When someone passed us, their teeth shone like those of a vampire happy with the waste of the world. Ready to drink it in. My body was four months pregnant, crossing over to a nightmared path of no return. But isn’t this the truth of every moment? To revise our lives into the I belong—to this tribe of the unreliable narrators, luminous in our stories and in our squalor.
Outside my window it’s never the same—
some mornings jasmine slaps the house, some mornings sorrow.
There is a word I overheard today, meaning lost
not on a career path or across a floating bridge:
Boketto—to stare out windows without purpose.
Don’t laugh; it’s been too long since we leaned
into the morning: bird friendly coffee and blueberry toast. Awhile
since I declared myself a prophet of lost cats—blind lover
of animal fur and feral appetites. Someone should tag
a word for the calm of a long marriage. Knowledge
the heat will hold, and our lights remain on— a second
sight that drives the particulars of a life: sea glass and salt,
cherry blossoms and persistent weeds. What assembles in the middle
distance beyond the mail truck; have I overlooked oceans,
ignored crows? I try to exist in the somehow, the might still be—
gaze upward to constellations of in-between.