Sunday, July 11, 2021

In the Dream in Which I Am a Widow by Gabrielle Bates

In the Dream in Which I Am a Widow

I have carried a portion of your ashes overseas
to the Spanish statue of the falling angel,
its snake of stone wrapped twice around one leg’s ankle
and coiled around the thigh of the other, stone jaw
unhinged and reaching for the humanesque hand.
We lived, remember? briefly, near it. One wing arcs up in the sky,
erecting an honest steeple, one that points not straight
but upward and curving. As faith goes.
Back to earth. I’ve scattered part of what you were
from the mouth of my black jacket sleeve onto the field across,
watched over by tall and leaning trees, the field
from which you returned to me so many nights
cold as ice and glowing, your socks full of grass.
I heard the door open, blessed the opening,
blessed the stench you brought inside our home,
blood tangled in the hair on your shin,
bits of another man’s flesh in your cleats.
I was curious about this forbidden felt language.
I rubbed my thumbs into your muscles,
the salt of you softening as it entered me. You were a wonder
with your bones and skin on. You focussed your violence
with a pipette’s precision, and it never spilled
in my direction, never though I lapped at its opening
determined to get a taste from the source.
Years before we went north, before your bed was my bed,
there was a garden in the south we snuck to
where spring made us a headboard out of heady jessamine,
the poisonous vine’s scent sweet, aneurysmal sweet,
swelling our brains against our skulls.
I remember, even in that giddy upward state,
I always knew truth was somewhere not in that sweetness.
Now I’ve made of you a figure
always falling. What sort of monster
does this make me?

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