Unaccompanied

Unaccompanied

I

August again

and the only letter in my mailbox
is a cautionary piece
about lead in my drinking water.

II

August brings bottles of wine
sipped in solitude,
and the familiar shape of your name
in unfamiliar places.

It brings dreams,
mundane, like us in a car
or talking on the phone.

In one dream,
you have a new tattoo
of a worm dangling in front of a fish.

You call this waiting.

And for the rest of that day,
all I could think of
was how easy you were to love
when you were folding a bed sheet;
your arms spread full-span.

III

Someone once said
when two people are in love
they create a third being

and that when it’s over and done,
the third is left to wander.

IV

She is an offprint of me,
separate
yet close enough to cry for,
with the same face,
a shared expectation
we shadow on ourselves.

I wonder how we will break
the end of our dance as we sever.
I wonder how we look from afar,
our melded shape
like the silhouette of coral,
a horse’s head,
or the bottom half of a man’s face.

I wonder what it is
that makes us put meaning
into objects and dates.

A bright, cloudless Sunday,
a bouquet of sunflowers,
a bed frame, a broken shell.

The light is real,
hitting her back
smooth
in strains and spine.

She is my third:
haunting,
crying into the clean pillow beside me
and keeping me up at night.

V

I filter my water now—
twice before I drink it.

In the paper,
I read about a woman in New York
who dropped a spoon in her kitchen.

When she bent down,
her house exploded,
and amidst the debris of fate and luck,
she crawled out safely
from beneath her kitchen counter.

I should make use of this,
to let go of the spoon
and save myself in some small way,
but it is nearly the end of August,

and it is quiet
except for the heave of a passing truck,
and it is the sort of night
where I will try to sleep
with good intentions for myself,
starting in the morning.

– Gillian Sze

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