January 31, 2009
The Melancholy of Departure
He said, maps leave.
In the Tate that day, I felt them expand
with latitude lines that did not connect,
more fragile than the lattice of a leaf.
It was all about perspective.
On a postcard sent back several thousand miles,
I wrote, “This is just a more pretentious form of missing.”
Inside the Iceberg
In the sun, it seemed impenetrable.
Glassy white, faintly marbled with jade,
hints of cobalt blue beneath.
You had come to see the departure.
Beneath the ice caves, a pure form.
Liquid quicksilvered down the sloping mass,
smoothing its contours as twilight softens buildings.
All that was angular effaced into blurry focus.
When the glacier top sheared off
it was hiding greenery inside.
Dark, cold pools had turned vivid aquamarine,
hard walls verdant with growing things.
From the opposite bank
you swore you could see iridescent dragonflies
winging through the green, escaping into the
pearly grey clouds above the iceberg.
It is easier to begin without beginning.
We were less obvious that way;
“Hello” too ritualistic, a cliché.
These misspoken words gravitate towards
our hour-long silences,
and this thin thread,
waving gently with each nautical mile,
was never overstrained; I was careful.
It was almost easier then,
when the ending was evident
in every quiet phone call,
but never realized.
This tenuous proximity
begot new lived realities.
I took fragility back with me; unintentional.
She has never seen swamp grass
or moss that grows in enclosing layers,
but she can imagine the cool,
inside the green.
The light would be different there,
softer, filtered through lacy chlorophyll sheets.
And she would not feel trapped:
she has determined
to cultivate isolation.
Her need for solitude seemed
enormous after too many days upended by noise,
silencing the arguments
inside her head as if
they did not exist.
But she finds herself waiting
for a voice to shatter the quiet contemplation,
turning her celadon haven into
she cannot sustain.
The swirls were everywhere, caressing,
but I’ll take eggs to her scales until she can decide
who it is she wants. I thought they were a one of
opposite patterns, not standardizing for the Victorians,
and her modest train blending in: there is no making waves.
Presented openly in framed subjugation; none would dare
criticize the lady of the house (just hook her in along the background).
Still, they let their dizzy fear run over the walls
until it became a passion-point and all they could see was
red spirals circumnavigating the parlour.