Saturday, June 2, 2012

A Poem by April Salzano

You don’t own the morning, you don’t
own the space I crouch between the sun and the fog
waiting for light to unfold,
listening to cowsong echo through the field
across the street. The windmill circles counterclockwise,
as if to take me back to before I knew you. Morning
comes quietly here, with no pretense, no expectation.
You don’t own the night. Not the night I spread
my body open for you, not the night you stopped
answering my calls, and not tonight’s mosquitoes
biting at my legs.
Not the first night or the last, the fifteen minutes you
spared me with your socks on, when you let me swallow you
and washed your hands in my kitchen sink
once you had finished reaching inside me. What?
They’re dirty, I should have washed them before too.
I give you back the time it took me
to scan your body for marks you could not
wear home. I give you back the minutes you gave me, always
promising more next time. I give you back the idea
that one day we would wake up inside
one another.  You don’t
own tomorrow or the day that I met you, a day later
than when you were supposed to have been there. The first
of many appointments missed, the first in a long line
of excuses. Excuses I give you back.
You were standing by your truck smiling
like we knew each other
already, like I owed you the introduction
I gave. I presented my hand, pretending
I didn’t already know the direction we were going, pretending
it wasn’t already too late to turn back, to spare myself.
Instead, I soldiered on, I
continued showing you who I was,
like someone who had not known
and loved and lost your kind before.
Like someone who should have
turned her eyes up to heaven and begged for mercy on the spot,
an amen corner to hide in before you took me
on a walk through hell and out the other side, stark,
lackluster at best, where good would never feel right anymore.

Let me be your slut again. Use me use me and use me again then
spit me out all fucked up and twisted like the gum
you hid behind your teeth while your mouth hurried into mine
in an empty bedroom of an empty house, where
you pretended to show me raccoons living in the crawl space,
you said they were angry and would not let you finish
wiring. I believed you and headed upstairs
to see. I was really looking for raccoons. And you followed me
so you could whisper, breathlessly, you take my breath away.
Your tongue invaded my mouth, rattlesnake quick and promising.
I shook like a virgin, a decade too late, a moment too soon,
braced myself for aftershock as I made my way back down the stairs,
as I made my way down.
A month went by, then two.
My phone constantly in my pocket, waiting like only
the other woman waits, reading signs only the other woman knows:
the first signal of the morning meant the dialogue could begin.
We flung words we never would have
spoken aloud, sent and deleted
pictures taken in mirrors, backwards and
inaccurate. The last signal of the night meant don’t answer, she’s home.
Let me crawl into bed with her and pretend you don’t exist. Let me face
the wall so I can think about you. Let me fuck her with my eyes sealed
and imagine it’s your skin I consume.
By the third month, it was already over. I wanted
too much, you said, I needed more than you were able to give.
And fuck me, I wasn’t willing
to accept a charade in place of the real thing.
I will be damned for my part, but I will not
pretend it never happened for you. I will not
allow you to say it meant nothing, to regret, to repeat.
I summon my fury, wondering where it is
when I need it most, wonder where the hell it was
before I let myself down this far into you, lowered my body
into dark water, where I stayed submerged, looking up
to you, darkly. I held fast to mere seconds that should have been
hours, but weren’t. Our time never materialized, never became
real. A farce. A lie. There were no raccoons in that crawl space.

April Salzano teaches writing at Westminster College. She has published poetry in several online and print journals and is currently working on her first collection of poems and an autobiographical novel on raising a son with Autism, if the beauty and pain allow articulation.  

1 comment:

  1. WOW... an incredible and emotionally charged write. I can relate all to well!! TY for such an amazing read that carried my heart through a whirlwind of raw emotion.. Respects to you!!