Photo by Ivan Babydov on


She was a leaf accidentally blown off her tree.
We met on the night before
the trial that would send her to prison for forgery.
Her fingerprints all over my flesh that day.
She pushed into my ribs, crawled into my heart,
and although we never touched,
she bruised me bad.
Her long journey through the grief of losing her husband
took her into the arms of a man
who raped her nightly,
forced her to forge checks for sexual favors; it made her feel loved/important.

I cannot speak of love like this.
No one has ever deprived me of my sensation
for such a degree of longing. I sat
with her and felt like a world of postcards sent out,
never responded to. My life was pretty pictures
of illustrious waterfalls and rare orchids.
I forbid the sight of any shadow laden images of myself,
the stale hotel rooms I got bed bugs in,
journals full of right hooks, masterminded self-sabotage.

The world saw her shadow side splayed across headlines.
No one saw the glow inside her as she talked
about thirty three years of organic love in her marriage,
that draped her in an invisible grace for so long.
After he died, she mysteriously fell into a secret hole in the world,
where she grabbed and screamed to be rescued by any form of love
and perhaps those who hear those desperate screams
are almost always the sickest.

He trained her eyes to know of rape and abuse.
He translated her yearnings into obscene elements
and made her sinful in eagerness of flesh.
She sat across from me and cried after a suicide attempt in jail.
In my office with pictures that wreaked of pretense and mastery.
I wish I could have told her how many hours I wept alone,
how those pictures where dangerous banks for me
to cash out on when I was bankrupt in my head.

I knew nothing about the love she had experienced,
but I did know you cannot let yourself surrender
to the wind, the currents, hot rocks when you’re barefoot.
I am going to prison, aren’t I? she asked with tears in her eyes.
I could not speak lies.
Right now this is a story and stories fade, I smiled.
I then proceeded to name all the people I knew
that had stuck by her through her ordeal
“There’s always people,” I told her,
reaching my hand out for hers to hold onto.
“There’s always someone, know that”
I repeated, knowing I too needed to hear it
As I stared at the perfectly captured portraits of landscapes
I had taken and framed, all of them perfect
and devoid of people.

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