15 May, 2010

Tell Me Lies in a Dead Language

Perhaps it starts with genetics.
The knack of the body to remember
what the mind chooses to disregard:
gloom, heartbreak, and black eyes.
To routinely recall the verb forget
soon after a drunken argument
has leaned in close and shouted
sinister advice in your ears.

Each day, less of you survives,
and what remains seems fragile and disposable,
half-healed bones and broken china.
A penchant for shoplifting, sex,
and scotch before noon.
Scattered scars that outline your wrists
and bruises that ache, disappear, then return.

So you say that your husband is nice
in his own way, a statement as undecipherable
to me as Sanskrit.  You tell me lies
in a dead language and I answer them
with the comforting weight of silence.
I can only think of how at dusk,
as night closes around our world like a fist,
he will punch you behind drawn curtains
and locked doors.
If I believed in apologies,
I’d give all of mine to you,
mumbled like unanswered prayers
floating aimlessly toward heaven.

~ ~ Adrian Potter

From: The Shine Journal, Vol. 1 (2010).