Sunday, December 6, 2009

How to save a life

You tell me you love me
under the spotlight of a small gooseneck reading lamp.
I feel you crawl onto the crisp sheets,
bed dipping under your weight as you
settle in beside me and whisper my name.
I roll over from my book feeling the heat
from your skin burn me, the look on your face
nearly as intense, and enough to make me hold my breath.

I feel your heart beating furiously on my elbow
as if some piece of your father’s ghost
is trying to keep tempo with sticks worn smoother
than marble. This is a tune he won’t quite catch.

And you speak the words I wasn’t expecting to hear
after such a short time together; my own heart
rushing to the scene of the crime, wanting above all
other things to be able to love you back, to see
the light creep into your eyes whenever I enter the room,
but I can’t be that close to the fire.
I can’t put all of myself into your gentle arms
when I am not worth more than a broken China doll.

Tears roll down the square of thrown light on my cheek,
my mouth betraying its orders, the guardian asleep
at the gate, and I hear them fall into the air knowing
you need to hear me say it, knowing at that moment

my heart
felt the whole of it
burning into us both.

Aleathia Drehmer 2008

Published by Literary Mary in "Don't Call Me Plath" 5/09

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