Rusted bars creak when your right hand pushes open the gate,
your other, warm and firm in the valley of my back; a gentleman
of the first degree. The gesture at once quickens my heart.
We laugh nervously in the long, dark corridor with its catacomb
silence, and my clicking heels on the Spanish tile ring loud.
The walls rough beneath my fingers, an earthen Braille,
its beauty only grasped in this temporary blindness.
The tunnel opens easily into a courtyard, wooden trellis crowned
and dripping with wisteria, the color reminds me of the lilac still in my hair,
plucked deviously from a stranger's tree, when you said you'd never smelled it.
I listen to the lilt of your voice making small talk, letting you go on,
knowing very well that you hate it, but you sense it will draw me out into this night;
this first mingling in the world without being caught inside the box.
We smoke, inhaling deep the clouded sky heavy with complaint,
the flower’s mixed perfumes, the chatter of friends, and the lingering smell
of our excitement, still fresh on the skin. I look up as the first drops descend,
the stars distant memories tonight; my life changes with each breath,
so fast I am spinning, and then all is quiet: your voice, the city, the people,
and I catch you watching me, smile spreading like a disease.
You let me hold your hand beneath the table, the room lit
with white Christmas strands around the makeshift stage
and the whisper of coup de foudre taking my breath by surprise.
Closer, fire dances in votives by way of ghosts let in
through the high window, making kaleidoscope women behind
the soft brown bottles of Weston's, sweating rings onto the tabletop,
as the singer's voice shocks the air around us all.
We are captured in the church of his piano,
his voice the heaven we can't bring ourselves to believe exists,
and when he reaches the pinnacle, there is silence.
Aleathia Drehmer 2008
Published by Writer's Bloc, Issue 6, 12/09