Chapter 1 drawing

A Certain Kind of Love

Chapter 1


Sarah Rosenblatt

Reprinted with permission of the author.


The road veered so far to the left,
we lost our right sides
when we rounded the corner.

We picked them up on our way back,
but always remembered what it was like
to be without...

except for the times when the moon
tumbled in the window, landed on the bed
and we fell into it.



We tore into each other's fragrances
enough to hold Wednesday
to its last possible moment,
but it swept across the windows

He always set the table
and never cleared it,
hoping dinner would break through
into something that wouldn't wipe away.

They said it was past closing time at the Indian restaurant.
We both agreed it was still early,
even as they ushered us out the door.



The man without his umbilical chord--
nothing pulling him back
to the space between skyscrapers.

He was alone,
throttled by his speech,
atonal, like his ancestors,
alone, in his hooded coat.

It would take too much
to get in there.

I visited him recently--a kink in my forehead.
I could no longer sit on seats after he'd left them
and feel warmed.
I could only sit, dumbstruck, on his couch
with my aura in a paper bag.



There was a tenderness
in the custodian's hands
that pulled at women,
but he never guessed.

Although he wasn't charged with his name,
he rode it through.

The space between his shoulders
carried more than it should.

The wind slurred his footprints
into those of a neighbor.

She smiled, letting sunshine in on her teeth
and between them.

The elastic in his socks
sunk in.

He knew how to carry the weather
and that sadness was
the distance between people.



So many relaxed lunches
had reflected in their teeth
and blurred together.
Now, not one could pick itself out.

The child's cries
leave imprints in his mother's chewing gum.
She is only half aware of his prism eyes
and the dog exploring the puddle.

Spring came on gradually
like her husband's mustache.
When it finally crossed
his lip,
she couldn't remember.



She was tanned through
her lace leggings.
When she took them off,
he said she was calico.

The daylight came through
the curtains,
speckling their hug.

The dog slid
across the floor
and his reflection slid with him.

Love cascaded down her back
where only yesterday
had been ambivalence.

Was this something
she would hold to?

Or was it some kind
of rapidly depleting energy
that would get knocked

by her internal workings
and would have nothing
to do

with how she had said
good morning this morning?



Love was powdered out and thirsted for
by the window washer
as doorbells grew louder
than music on a Chinese train
and the doorman blew musk off his shoulder
into the wind.

From outside their bedroom
they sounded like paper accordions
pushing air in and out.
A cat's eye shone through the keyhole
leaving light on the wall
in which the shadows of two people
were folding and unfolding.

No way of knowing just how far the affair would go
as the cosmic reticulum boomed into the shades.
They kept them down
so the sun wouldn't come in
in the morning
and beat into their teeth.



In the darkroom her look came undone,
floating in the fluid.
He tried to connect it,
but it evaded his touch.

Although he was filled with kindness,
his name didn't break
the tension
in her face.

In the bathtub
love puckered on his fingers.
Each one was her
in a different state.
He stayed in the water.

Her eyes slid across
his name
and stopped before the last two letters.
She couldn't read him.
And she was always a foot behind
her kindness.

His boyhood
buried in his pillow
left patterns on his cheeks
that helped push sadness
further into the future.

Looking at the aboriginal expressions
in his childhood pictures,
he was dripping with changes
he'd been through.
No one licked them off.
They were all his.


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Copyright © 2002 Suzanne Rosenblatt. All rights reserved.

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