I felt him crawl up behind me, a change of temperature.
Darkness slips into my room and lays himself heavy across my bed. The heat from his mouth pricks my skin even as his touch cools my heart.
I thought I loved him once. I thought this nocturnal ritual was a sort of a quiet reprieve.
A hiding place from the blinding shafts of light that burst through my crumbling roof.
I listen to his complaints, silent and irritated in my sweat stained nightgown.
He cries waterless tears the color of dried blood, finely ground and spread over everything.
He laments out loud how he is raw and barren, tired of hiding under his cloak of shame.
“You are losing your hold on the sky!” I scream, pointing to stars that have ruptured through my war-torn shelter. They burn my floor and scorch my poor children’s feet.
I’m so angry at his impotence. My energy wasted on this betrayal.
My eyes go heavy, and I give into his darkness, his nothingness.
He smiles and whispers he loves me while I lie there helpless and sick.
His massive weight holds me down, stuck on feverish sheets that smell of tainted flesh and baby’s breath.
I hate him.
I leave my bed and he follows me everywhere. I turn on a light to keep him away, but I see him loitering outside the periphery of my overhead lamp.
I’m reminded of cool evening runs along the river.
My flashlight, a sword I could plunge into his gut and see what he is made of. The funneled light stabbing through tangled root to slay sleeping bunnies.
Fearless and arrogant, we made fun of the stupid light of day.
We kissed in empty theaters, made love in damp caves. He tasted of salty moss and fertility, and I bled my mortality into his shaking, cupped hands.
When he became ill, the smell of cancer spread through the air.
It killed the weak and left the rest of us to a slower death.
He blames the children of course, says that I have spoiled them. I let them run feral through the house, breaking furniture, and overflowing the tub. I suppose he is right, but I promise they would grow out of it. They will fix the damaged pipes,
or at least tidy up their room.
It’s here we grow tired of each other, weary of our parallel despair. I ask to be left alone,
but he can’t.
He asks to sit with me while I watch our children sleep.
I ask, “What could they be dreaming in this dehydrated existence? Flying cars? Fantastical beasts? Running water?”
We sit silent and hungry at a huge lopsided table in the den. The leg replaced centuries ago with stacks of unwritten books from the ancient library shelf. Our names are etched in the corner,
marking the beginning of time.
“She and He,”
Adam and Eve,”
“Earth and Sky.”
His cloak glistens with mirrored impressions of stars long ago expired.
The clock is ticking double time and he is still blinding and beautiful to me.
A wash of sympathy crosses his lips, “Imagination is the first thing to die,” he says.
He looks past my shoulder, never in my eye, and asks why I am laughing.
I dive deep, through his sickness, through his narcissism, and I feel nothing.
It’s pointless anyway, we are dying.
I let him hold me with the last of his strength. His rage and beauty dissipate,
spread colorless over the early morning horizon. The sun burns the life from our lungs even before it rises.
I can’t let go.
There is nowhere to go.