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in the heart of the afternoon

In The Heart of the Afternoon


I remember the gentle tap
Of my shoes on cobbled stone
On the linden-lined street
That led to the brownstone
Where we'd meet.
The balmy July air, heavy with pollen
And mowed grass. The auburn-silk skirt
You loved, the way it blew soft about
My legs as I moved closer, as
The afternoon came closing in around us.
How the desk clerk always smiled,
So complicit, as he led me to Our Room
Knowing soon you would arrive.
How nervously I'd wait, legs tucked,
Reading glasses on, hair in loose bun
As I pretended to read but thought
Only of you.
How the white curtains flapped,
Danced at the open window
And the muffled sounds of the city
As it spun all round us, while we
Were held still in its palm.
The Anjou pears we ate, perfumed juice
Golden trails that trickled down our chin.
The way you made me laugh so hard
I would say, "No, No!"
As I tried to catch my breath
How we talked, me reclining on ginger-
Freckled flank, inhaling the sweet-savory
Spice of your skin. The way your mind
Spun quick and bright connections
I could almost see the spark of each synapse
As it fired, fired, fired.
How every sigh was Hallelujah
Every word but a part of a greater
Litany of lovers. How alive
I felt then! How beautiful
And vibrant: Snapshot of
A woman in love.
Each kiss and caress a renewal
Of the spirit. Each Goodbye
An Amen.

But what I remember most:
The raw February day
I knew we'd reached the end,
Felt my heart splinter, a brittle
Glass cathedral, and the only sound
The gentle tap-tap of your shoes
on cobbled stone, as they carried
you away; as they carried you home.

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