A Deterioration

Nightly I visit this book, this story,
wondering how it will end; it keeps

winding back to a group of frames,
to a time before the fruit in the tree

had not fallen and cracked open
like a wound on dark ground, to a time

after her lover's ghost took two sips
of coffee tainted with the poison of

certain death. Even the ghost of the cab
driver wondering who phoned the garage

at six every Friday evening keeps
coming back. How do they do it,

and not lose their minds? When she
finally entered the house again,

she'd twirl her wedding band
and engagement ring absently round

and round; loose even then, or
because she always had long, tapered

fingers. She liked to boast about
her tiny waistline, how she looked

in her wedding dress and there was no
mistaking they weren't doing it

because of a so-called accident. She grew
to like tapping the chiseled points of finger-

nails on the table whenever she was bored
or was allowed nothing more to say. But

she knew how to scream and moan: she'd work
herself into such a state that fainting was

always the logical next step. Thinking
of her now, I can only see that wound-up

energy with nowhere to go: the points
of her knees, the edge to her voice, all

of her youth and possessions lost, her mind
a skittish bird trapped in the fire.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.