The Swiftness of Dream-Time
She confides unduly in strangers, asking
inappropriate, intimate questions. She has
startling, beautiful eyes, a pale luminous brown,
fringed by heavy black lashes. The fair skin
of her lids glistens like the wings of a moth,
and the expansive way she smiles makes her
delicate pink lips almost disappear. She lives
in the dream-time before marriage and children,
unschooled by the constant companionship of small
relentless demands, unaware of the eternal
ramifications of peeling herself raw
like a thick stalk of sweet cane, exposing her pithy
heart to people who don’t care to understand
the need to be loved, hidden warts and all.
Some people can never be trusted, she feels this
in her bones, yet she doesn’t want to believe it;
the ache of betrayal is like cancer of the marrow,
an oily red liquid pouring from her center
to drown the most fragile of her cells.
On personality tests, she engages in flights of fantasy:
happiness wings past just out of reach, grazing
her face with its sharp, heavy wings, ruffling her fine
hair with the remarkable swiftness of its passage.
Sitting in her green armchair, she becomes
engrossed in old forgotten novels, flipping
the tissue-thin paper with impatience,
sweeping the fallen crumbs of leather binding
off her taut, bony lap with fingers sticky
from futile perspiration. If the man she thinks
she loves asked her to marry him, she would say
yes without hesitation, but it wouldn’t make her
happy — nothing will ever satisfy her, for very long.
She doesn’t know what she wants and never will.