failure to sacrifice
by Hezekiah Allen
"If you can’t get rid of the skeleton in your closet,
you’d best teach it to dance."
-- George Bernard Shaw
that slight and none-too-solid evening—the one
we built like gauze from the fringed edges
of our interactions, the one we spent
touching ever-so-lightly with ghosts
of warm fingers and hints
of smooth skin—that night
Artemis moved across our coupling,
drawing cold, delicate patterns—as is
her damn annoying habit.
and suddenly you were an embodiment
of ancient ideals without arms, of postmodern forms
in concrete and steel and primary colors, of passionate
and magnetic words, ones that better poets than I—or
spinners of good mythology—use like bricks.
I would build myself with those words,
had I the skill: first, Shakespearean shoes;
then, Renaissance panties followed by a bra
based loosely on a Frank Lloyd Wright design.
A classic foundation layer.
In your warm tones, “Brown Penny”
skated between breaths.
I know you don’t hear Yeats
in your rumble, in the classic GTO growl
of your laughter, but I do—for I am
plagued with such blindness,
such Romanticism, that it must flake off of me
like so much dandruff.
I felt the faint hunger then,
wanting an Oracle’s cure, a solution,
but I can’t stare into the sun that long.
As you say, I am timid, tame.
I don’t like the floating circles that remain
before my eyes; they are too many mirrors
of too many young worlds.
You mean it all in jest, of course,
or so you say now,
but I recognize the confining circle
you are drawing around yourself, a white chalk outline.
And you are inside; and I am outside.
Yes, you are the Earth,
and I am the sky and
all that connects us is moonlight—something
coldly lovely and warmly passionate
but chased away by the morning.
So that evening I did nothing more
than snuggle close and wish on you
like you were birthday candles.
But, still you left.
We both knew you would—so many miles
uncharted between us—and as I walked you out
I saw Orion dangling his toes low over the northern trees.
He’s the only constellation I can positively identify.
Killed by a woman who loved him
and placed into the sky next to the woman he loved,
who, in turn, loved another—all unconnected dots.
A rather fitting end.
And I knew he was you.
And I knew he was an outline.
And I knew he was the cold, sterile light
from some distant, and, of course, clichéd, dying universe.
Yet, he was so immediate and overpowering,
almost touching your scalp as you retreated down the sidewalk,
that my finger could not resist being lifted to the sky
to trace a line along your belt of stars.
Version -- Hezekiah's Version
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