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I Want to Tell You About a Woman

She used to put her thoughts on simmer
and let them cook down to gravy.
Her eyes were dark, with a crescent-shaped scar
under the left, like a lost parenthesis
or a boat slipped from its mooring.
  The scar disappeared when she smiled.
This strikes me now as too tidy: ‘Joy trumps the pains of old.’
She almost always used her hands when she spoke.
   I often used to joke that one need only bind her 
wrists with duct tape to silence her. When she
feared I would forget something that mattered,
she emphasized the point with two open hands,
like a fisherman describing a medium-sized catch.
What is most maddening is that I can see her now
from where I sit, yet she can no longer hear me.
This is not memory. She is there, through the pane,
and I am here on the other side, and even when
she disappears behind obstructions there are monitors
tracking her through the day. I don’t know what to say
other than I miss her. Someone has begun composing
a soundtrack, a plaintive, somewhat repetitive strain
that circles back on itself. Sometimes cello, sometimes
piano. Sometimes I press my fingers to the glass
when she sidles by. I used to pound and shout
but it had no more effect than
questioning the sky. Her anger was formidable and
always came from where she hurt. She wasn’t quick
to tears but when they came they broke like rain.
   Now I am dry as a windblown leaf.
   I have always dreaded absence. I did not know
death would hinge on presence, upon witnessing her
walk through endless gardens so idly and composed. 

Michael Bazzett

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