Monday, February 25, 2013

Linguistics and Foreplay

I tell you the dark scares me.

You ask if I am insecure because I asked

if you hate me a hundred times today. What

I asked was if you were angry. Same thing,

you say. In bed beside me you are a lifetime

away. No light is left in the room as I try to engage

in witty banter to explain the difference

between anger and hatred, but your hand

is on my ass, rubbing in slow circles, kneading

the flesh in a way that does nothing for me.

You are not the husband who would appreciate

definitions or dialogue in place of sex,

for whom talking was as hot as the intentional

thrust of one body into another, the silent in and out

of finger tongue cock. You bore easily

and get up early, take inventory

of sandwich and tea bags and skim

milk, the loaf of bread on Wednesday

that will be gone by Friday. The lunchbox

that will ride shotgun is full of meat slapped

between slices of wheat, artfully spread

with spicy brown mustard, Miracle Whip Light,

one yogurt, one fruit cup, one spoon for both.

I am dying in my skin. Slowly, it wrinkles like a ripe peach.

I know my crow’s feet and laugh lines

are invisible here, but I they exist.

I feel them mapping my face. Maybe I wanted

to be a girl again when I told you that

I am afraid of the dark, to make you hold me under

the swallowed moon, but I was every one

of my 39 hard years when I said

there are things in the dark

that do not exist in the light.

2nd Proposal

We have just finished making love. You are

pressed up against me, your chest on my back,

one broad hand covering most of my shoulder. Your breath,

sunlight warming my neck. I want to push myself

into you. I want to feel this protected forever,

or at least until morning.

The snow hasn’t stopped falling for three days.

It shows no signs of letting up.

I am holding onto minutes like air pockets, knowing you

will go home soon. Here

there is only you keeping me warm,

keeping me safe. Keeping me.

I am suddenly convinced

that I can remember every word you have ever spoken

to me. I silently string them together

just to prove I can. I ask what you wore

the night we met. You remember. I know

I have never needed anyone before. I have

never craved skin the way I crave your skin,

never missed touch the way I miss how your fingers

search me, the weight of you on top of me.

I want to paint a picture of you with my hands,

except I am no artist and you won’t hold still,

though you are so tired. You have worked

yourself into a crescent-eyed stupor again, and still

managed to save enough energy

to paralyze me beneath you, take me, connect

with me, stop time for me the way only you can. I plead

with you to sleep, but I am afraid to slip under,

to sacrifice one second of our time here.

I wonder if I am not already dreaming. How will I keep you

until morning, until it’s warm, until forever?

I have already proposed, wine-drunk and silly,

but I meant it. That night I said too much, gave

too little, stayed too long. I have already made my children,

built my home without you, and made my sacrifices before you.

It’s true the letters I have saved aren’t from you,

the pictures in the photo albums aren’t of us. You weren’t here

while I did or said or made the things

that when pieced together make up who I am.

But now you are, as if time wrinkled

and folded back in on itself.

You have already broken

all your rules for me.

Know there is nothing

more I want to take from you.

I have already gotten what

I came for. I am asking again,

in my own way, for you to stay,

to not let me go tonight, or tomorrow, or ever.


You are still walking in the woods

the night we tried to stop my friend from jumping

over a ravine, hidden in the twisted shadows of trees,

our voices echoing through the hollowness,

cutting the damp air, circling before touching

bottom where dark was no longer transparent.

Really, you just wanted to let her jump,

but knew she wouldn’t have let go of my hand.

You walked in front, bored

with the whole obligation to comfort.

Your body grew smaller as you hung your drunk head.

Light found its way between your arms and legs

as you distanced. I started to cry for you then—

knowing you have always sat on some edge,

have always already forgotten when and where.

I am so scared you are going to fall

into the nothingness below

and refuse to scratch your way back out.

Your eyes look around inside yourself,

trying to make sense of nothing.

Completion as directive. Let her jump.

Marital Settlement Agreement

Whereas, unfortunate differences have arisen

between the parties making the continuation

of their marital relationship impossible; and

Whereas, the parties desire to settle all

matters between them arising out of their marriage.

NOW, THEREFORE, in consideration

of these facts and circumstances and of the mutual

promises in this Agreement,

Husband and Wife each agree:

1. Separation. The parties shall live separate

and each shall go

his or her own way

without direction,


or molestation from

the other, as if unmarried,

and each shall not

annoy or interfere

April Salzano 

April Salzano teaches college writing in Pennsylvania and is working on her first (several) poetry collections and an autobiographical work on raising a child with Autism. Her work has appeared in Poetry Salzburg, Pyrokinection, Convergence, Ascent Aspiration, The Rainbow Rose and other online and print journals and is forthcoming in Poetry Quarterly and Bluestem.

with each other in any manner whatsoever…   ASalzano