You were cruel to leave me alone,
With only my hands, and
Only my art.
In your absence I turned the chisel
Against my own longing,
My despair entered this stone,
And like nerve pulling at nerve
I retrieved your impossible, naked
Soul from its guts.
See how the shoulders arch here,
Where the light becomes sharp and unforgiving,
This is where I first cut my heart out
With your touch.
And here, where the hair plunges
Like a leviathan of caresses,
Down into the unhewn rock,
Here my belief in the separateness
Of our bodies finally fails.
I am curled into every curve,
And surge and retreat of your terrible absence.
When you return, you
Will discover I have gone quite mad.
Night after night in my atelier
I have disemboweled myself,
A dozen new figures to worship your savagery.
Don’t call it absence.
Don’t call it the never gotten love.
The certainty of distances,
how close they are to you now,
and she who clasped herself
to the wind and soared,
leaves behind this city,
full of her possession;
you trail fingers over the rippling walls,
follow her echoing scent.
What is far gone at the end of an unravelling sky
is not outside of you.
You have taken her inside,
you who sing with the lilt of her voice.
And the span of a thousand palms
is not separation.
Look, you inhale and
across never plunging oceans she breathes.
Step forward into the leaning day,
while these familiar things look ripe without her,
she leans in on the other side, speaking,
speaking the hours that you walk.
Don’t call it absence,
this silence that can’t be broken,
that slips between the grooves of your body,
singing over and over what remains of her.