[poem by ~burning woman~ ]
Sharp footsteps clack evenly
Down the old faded-gold hallway
With blistered hardwood floor.
Rain beats the window pane,
As wind blusters, impersonal, cold.
The front door like a thunder clap
At two thirty five in the morning
Slams so hard it fails to latch
Creeps back slowly on dried hinges
That creak like skeletal bones
Rattled from a dusty sleep.
Now you know, now it tells you
Even the ghost of her is gone.
All you can feel, all you can hear
Is the slap you gave her in the night
When she asked why you lied.
(“Now I predict the future / merely by listening to echoes. A slamming door / can tell you everything you need to know. It’s not a trick / only a simple matter of wisdom, an obsessive attention / to dreams.” — Mary Jo Bang)
[a poem by ~burning woman~ ]
I got a snail mail letter from him
From some distant place I’d never heard of
Up in northern Canada, it said
Up by the Arctic circle or beyond.
In it he wrote in his simple style,
I miss you so much, so much
And what am I, lost in this endless land
Of snow and ice and very strange lights?
It’s so cold, so cold, way up here
And the aurora borealis is like a distant battle
Flashing ominously in tortured skies
And under my feet the pink snow crackles.
How cold is it? Can I even explain?
It’s like standing all night in the frozen snow
Watching a single candle burn slowly
In a window across a street I cannot cross.
Near morning the candle guttered out,
The window went strangely dull black
And I knew then without any doubt
That what we’d called our love had died.
Do I write back to tell him I’m happy
With my new man and new baby?
Do I confirm the truth of his vision
And break his heart a second time?