What Best You Can Do

What Best You Can Do prose poem

Photo by Bev Goodwin

Up against her
What best you can do

Forget the last letter of her name
To wonder how she would be an incomplete sigh;
Double back thereafter, gently
Rid yourself of the first letter …
This will remind you
Too paltry was she to explode into some kind of life.
The middle ones give or take no troubles;
They’ll coast their way back to the alphabet in silence.

It takes time you’ll bet,
All depending on how the dedicated fold of the temporal lobe,
Neurons, capillaries …
Recycling her ceaselessly in your economy
Measure up to the unfamiliar task of
Speeding her atrophy, washing down traces …

Turn her into a wrongly structured question
So that any answer that emanates
Is always a fallacy
Or a lurid silence – a rip-off
At all times.

Turn her into some shadow
That never escorted a fleshly frame
No flesh called ‘she’ ever walked or slept;
You’re in luck here
The soul never walks or sleeps with anyone,
It merely gapes at flesh tottering against sunbeams —
Like a crippled liege, a voyeur— a bale of shadow in the rocker.
Work her into the shadow of a shadow.

The words you heard her utter
LOVE for one, with or without snivel or moan;
Garble it.
It becomes OVEL – for example,
A mis-spelt, verily improbable shape
Of a universe that named itself ‘she’.

What is she?
To the litany of waters
That wearies the river ?
What are her shapely heels crossed by divinity, or
The beatitude of her loins’ essence
To your driveling kisses?
Or to the poise of the asteroids?

It’s some elements you had worked up
In your dithyrambs,
From your creed,
Feral depths
Your awakenings–
Now worrying at your gay insomnia.

You thought you were enough
To pick your way through this rambling madhouse, light-footed
And dash out the door;
Voila !
You didn’t know if you’re in or quite out, but
It is in you, now
Spreading like feasting wild violets
Her mouth, ravines of meat, pulsing breasts – diaphanous
Betraying a heart silhouetted against a thrilled cataract of blood
Beyond it a sun on death row.

What best you can do
Up against her, is
To believe you never had a chance.

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