AFTER THE FALL: from A Triptych in Reverse

Abigail Swire 2006

The ascent was long and curved to the peak, city lights spread out,
some old lover’s lane maybe.
The descent, shall we say, was quite a bit shorter.
If it was you I would have saved you, no matter what.

Tunnel vision — walking the world between living and dead. When
I came out it was something not human. What then?
Everything fractured into comic book phrases —
Thank you, ma’am —
A puzzle, each piece as sharp and terrible as the last.
Love is a burning house, undiscovered beauty
 in the shock of exploding glass.

Do you hear it?
The rip-tangle of anguished limbs entwined
in a thousand cheap hotels?
The zip-gaze of neon as it whispers to brick.

You’re a pauper that found no treasure in me, but,
here, Love, is all I’ve got …
A copper coin for wishing when the fountain is dry.

Don’t you look good now?
That sweating, breathing, beating brow
where the hot blood pumps through
your gentle head.
I want you with a want that wants us both dead.

Unnamed starlets crash into Hollywood letters.

Viva la selva!
Hard to believe that once there were groves.
Now all memory is of street names,
glowing bridges, the craters that the city makes
and the rooms one takes —
The only real home is in a face, a voice
remembered, feeling of grace.
How they all come and go.

Can you hear it?
The thrust of the wind as it teases the river?
Vine overtaking concrete as time swallows your memory of me.

Why? Why anything.
Images fade, dependent on light only.
What was might as well never have been.

But … how easily forgiven.
In the same light time swallows time
as we stand on the edge
and you take my hand
before the fall.

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