Yes, she said evenly, as though the the word
was not a bomb, like tongues were not matches.
Promises, they are graves of sentiment. But in this,
this one sense, for the first time in many years
we did agree on something. Her thick scent
filled my lungs, one last time. Inhaled deep.
Her neroli. Fragrant and apposite, from the bitterest
of blossoms. I remembered, quite without my permission,
my younger head, its stubbled smile pressed hard to her neck.
Weaving its kisses as spiders might homes, no words for fragility.
Just poised certainty, where they want to be. What they want to catch.
But spiders, they are such small things, this so large,
once much less black. A childish union, ripped asunder
by the adult things. I watch later her hand, long fingered,
delicate, consign us to the dust of well meaning books,
an elegant sweep, practicing already new tales, new names.
I knew as she, with the briefest of looks, sent me across
the table, at the space where love once sat like the throne
of some fallen emperor, that some roads, no matter how
many breadcrumbs or hands pre-empt their passage,
no, they do not lead to fairy tales.
Todays best new poem was written by Ben Gilbert.
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