you loved a woman, you loved her well -- or,
you loved the face of her, she always smiled
as you walked through the door,
lighting the hallway for joy of you. you
sat down on the sofa with a heavy sigh.
she worked for fourteen hours that day.
she set the space you sit on,
she'd write, she'd write for you - but
what good are all those words anyway?
a man needs his daily bread:
that's not made of paper and ink.
she laughs as you introduce her to your friends
and clears the empty beer cans off the coffee table
with the patience of penelope--
she strokes the silken current of your hair
as you work, as you write, cultivate
that part of the mind that she has left to wither.
the seed of her own knowledge that rooted in the earth
will never be quickened by the spring.
did she ever feel the loss of that which built her -
no, not the gentle curve of shoulder and hip, which you so loved to trace...
but the heart, the soul of her?
did she ever feel the crater in her mind left by loving you? no--
she smiles and her spirit leaks out of that smile like water
streamed down her chin and chest to the floorboards.
she takes out the mop.
if she did, you'd never have noticed. you'd have slept,
not felt the anguish of another woman who lost herself for her husband's art.
she doesn't want to burden you with
the tears that stain her pillow case.
it's all just ashes, dim remembrances of brightness passed.
darling, you're the flame.