Fall, 2001 / No. 6

This is the place.

These are the frozen vistas I have envisioned in dreams.

The shore,

stretching to infinity on either side,

you have to go beyond the sloping dunes of sand,

passed the tall grass,

swaying with every crash of the ocean,

to enter the woods where I first lost you.

Each tree crouching against another,

a dark foliage woven against intrusion,

beckoning us with murmurs and promises.

These are the woods we entered screaming gaily,

but left in silent wisdom.

My eyes closed, I can keep track of you,

memory pained into existence,

your breath, trailing behind a bush,

your touch, resting its imprint on a rock

_ The games were never simple,

the rules were never clear or explained _

your hands in coolness raised against the invasion of sunlight,

your laugh crystalline and throaty,

a fragile liberation,

and finally, your dance, impish, lithe,

laughing at the fear that sent me yelling your name,

like the prophesy of betrayal,

reverberating with every wave;

There’ll be a next time.

There is always a next time,

when you find yourself alone

staring at your face in the mirror,

making sure you still exist.

Catherine Duchastel lives in Corso Italia. She has been published previously in the zine Slam. Last updated fall, 2001.