Crossings IX


Wet sand is cold under my bare feet as I walk at dawn along water’s ragged edge. I welcome the penance, if I can be punished, be wrong, be the one who could have done something differently then I can feel myself at least alive and repentant. My heart becomes a pale and shimmering cloud house shrouded in mist rising from the sea. I cannot tell if it is a house of lies, an illusion wavering at the periphery of my need or the house in which you waited for the woman who never had enough courage to look into your eyes. Soon, I come to what is left of a different house, anchored to solid ground, blackened timbers rising as testament to what lasts in the real world, nightmare where cries are heard and ignored, once a place where a man and a woman ate and slept. I wonder about that night the first finger of smoke curled towards the ruthless dark sky. I do not know if she died, as I would have, asleep, and unknowing, a faint struggle in her dream as in life, searching for a bridge, a door opening before she became free of desire, lungs full of black smoke, her penance finally complete. Or did he find her and did they hold each other in terror as flames roared. Before steep red and devouring punishment, could they have known each other? As I walk in the dull gray light of chill morning air, I imagine the kiss that is at once a beginning and an ending. I walk with emptiness, my constant companion, the burned and blackened house on my left On my right a curling pink, mist house, rises out of fog over the hard blue sea and I make it true. They were behind their eyes as they turned and saw each other for the first time, mirrors of their own deep love. They kissed, and as they touched, skin-to-skin, mouth to tongue, no fire could burn them, no house could hold them as they became lighter than air, a kiss floating over the edge, tears known only by salt. I stop and put my finger into the sea, bringing salt to my own mouth, and know an ocean full of tears, all that is left of smoke and desire moving between clouds, shadows approaching the sensation of colors I could only see when you kissed my closed eyelids, and I did not know I would ever open my eyes and find you gone.