For Mark Hartenbach
Addresses scrawled by a stranger's pen,
such mysteries held in manila envelopes
makes one wonder where it will take them,
unsure if glued lip and taped seal
should risk being broken.
Both sit on the table like orphans
hunched on concrete stairs
of an ancient church, pleading
with moon-eye saucers,
heartbeats whisper at a gaze,
the thought of liberation
from this place, faintly possible.
Dry fingers turn the golden paper,
avoiding well plastered edges,
peels the bottom slowly. The fresh book
sits in hand glossy-cold from winter metal.
Her name inscribed inside the cover
appears alien and incomplete.
She is anxious and wary,
begins feeding lines to her head--
none making sense twisting sideways
and upright from crisp ink. They
always start this way, fractured
jagged. She returns for more, same results.
Her feet stir beneath her, inching
to repeat failed attempts once more;
only aloud does it all meld, these manic
stricken lines, these cold pressed moments
of cynical silence and echoed ego.
The cat follows paces behind,
sits when she halts, wants to give
her his downy white belly in submission,
but looks on with caution at her lips
moving, persistent to capture rhythm.
He waits for the turn of the page,
waits for her stillness, if it comes.
Aleathia Drehmer 2009
Published by erbacce (Blood at the Chelsea) 12/09