This Is How
By Aine Déande
We are the hollow.
It's the taste of the longing... the taste of too little. The way a finger barely strokes the skin, just to feel the current of air move below. The same way a hand will reach out at the retreating figure of a woman. The back rigid and cocked, like a man's.
There seems to be little warmth between us. I have given you little reason, of course. I would laugh and you would cry... just a grin for me, neck tilted back, eyes closed.
Tears for you, eyes open and controlled. Your back curved like a dancer's, tears upon your face. Tears for the pillow, so wet upon your departure. The bed still warm from where you lay.
I lay you... I lay you down. Your voice is dry as you cry, echoes travelling the hallway like footprints in the dark. We sleep in separate compartments, but I can always hear you.
Here we go round, at five o'clock in the morning.
You are shapeless in your sleep and tasteless in my dreams. I like you awake, when I can keep you inside me. When your bedroom eyes break the sunlight into twin spears of laughter and lust. In your sleep, you are motionless, but your eyes shift behind their lids, so you must be dreaming.
I wish I could taste you in your sleep, but I could never near you in your rest. As still as your head lays in the pond of my lap, I dare not touch you. I could touch you without emotion, without fear, but I would rather breathe over you. You are fairer more when you raise your eyes to mine, when your voice bends to me... so sweet, so sweet.
Another night, I fit your dress. There are no eyes here; the silence speaks alone, broken into fragments. Sightless, unless provoked. Here I tie you up into manifold reflections. Here I lace you in with tin and fur. Here I fail you fast and flawless. Here I wait inside your dress, the clockwork turning, until the moment you come home.
Leaning together in this cobweb of scent... of not knowing the other, of wanting more. You may cry in your sleep, but you come to me for comfort. Diamond eyes, weighting, measuring. Still heavy from pain previous, yet they are sheltered to my flesh. Holding you down. People lie... they lie all the time. To themselves most of all.
Lies give reality its cutting edge. Truth makes its blade come down and cleave your life in two. I would rather dangle, suspended in stillness, where you are near to touch and far to feel. This way, I don't fall.
This way, I die slowly, at your hands and your call. Things are only true so long as your eyes are open.
There are no eyes here. We will end, as does the world when your lids are shut. You will bend away from my lying form like a dancer's, your back will greet me in turn. You will marry your betrothed and I will flee this dead house and travel a thousand landscapes, until I find sanctuary. My hope is empty, between emotion and response. Only alive in your absence, for when you are with me there is only you.
In this last of meeting places, we grope together and avoid speech. I paint you darker still, until the shadows fit you. We find each other in the dark. Life is very long. And in this lack of light there is only the ebbing of you. Tears dry beneath my fingertips.
The tryst, the trysts, the endless trust, and thrusts and, o, my darling... Goodbye lasts only till morning. But let me lie a little longer, hollowed in the dawn.
Before this conclusion, a last trembling thought. It is nearly morning; the prelude to goodbye is solidified. We hold each other. You let pass a little sigh between your lips.
This is the way the world ends; not with a bang, but a whimper.