the burning room

    Aubade on a picture of spontaneous combustion

    When my lover returns
    to his wife, his suburban apartment, the comfort
    of a seasoned bed bearing
    his beautiful weight

    I say nothing.
    I do not nod nor sigh nor breathe the light
    starting to bleed into the room
    the colour of saints

    being martyred in portraits.
    I walk the gallery of his absence, a tourist only
    to this surfeit of space,
    the erasure of lines

    that is his gift to me.
    It is enough, I think, to watch over the wide
    territory of his need, to guard
    the frontiers of desire

    with my body and silence.
    It is enough. And so I do not stir,
    even when the flames bloom
    fresh petals

    from my unbrushed hair,
    pursed eyelids. I disappear
    into photographic retreat,
    chemical shadow. So

    when my lover returns
    I am already the ash he wonders at
    and brushes gently away
    from the hood of his car.

18 July 2002   18:04 hours
workshop { } in the lost gallery of memory