garden of storms
an old woman made a small garden. a few flowers, but it was
hard work for her. I’d stand there & gaze at it when the other
soldiers weren’t around, feeling that I was sensitive to the
grace of the garden. I was not aware that, on the days of a
future past, & perhaps on that day, I was a poet.
one night the rains washed it away. I didn’t see the old woman
after the storm; for that, I was grateful.
many years later, I tell Tereska the story. I need her to hold me,
to crush the sorrow deep inside. I attempt to hide my agony,
but she knows. she knows things I haven’t told her.
sometimes I treat her unkindly; I say harsh things to her, things
that belonged to another time, another war. the savage that
became me in foreign lands rises – he yells through my eyes &
he accuses through my voice.
I tell her that I’ve never been good for a woman, another man
would treat her properly. but she remains silent, in the way that
a woman withholds her words when she knows that a man is not
capable of understanding.
a darkness festers in my heart: I have no name for it, so I call it
lust. when the violence of it erupts, I need to take her with a
desperation that might kill me. she makes no complaint, but
removes her clothes & attends me on our bed.
my mouth & hands roam grievously over her fleshly jewels that
swell with scarlet heat, the beauty & suppleness of a submissive
woman. she opens her legs, & I assault her with an insurgent
force that would scream rape if she did not love me.
at night she sleeps naked because I require it, even in autumn’s
cold. I feel her close to me & I touch her, not in a polite way. when
my fingers find her wetness, I wonder what her dreams must be.
she’s a Galatea who grew from clay without a sculptor; she created
the artistry of herself. & I am the brooding outlaw that makes her cry.
she’s a poem in a place without poetry…