What can I tell you? That I was not wholly
surprised? That a man like him counts on enemies,
in paranoia even courts them?
In his death, the tension of our estrangement
did not lift. Think how a horse, mouth emptied of bit,
given the entire pasture, will choose
to linger beneath the willow, as was the habit,
but without a rider grows confused, led to loneliness,
and will submit to any whip,
even the soft slow whips of the willow it loves.
I can tell you when my knee split
on cinderblock, piled on the porch for some never-
to-be-finished project, I clung to his cowboy shirt
because I wanted him to feel my need for him, though
I felt nothing, running my finger along the injury.
It was then I became less myself, less human, my new
coldness like strength. So if you’re asking if I am
afraid to stay here, in this house, those men
on the loose, I can tell you no. That fear is razed.
I suspect I will marry soon. A man to enter the ledger
of pleasures I can count on:
walking through woods when snow makes a perfect
angle with my isolation, and telepathic owls
are all ears: comforting and indifferent.
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