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I was one romantic bastard in my 20s.

You sat next to me in an aerogramme,

You bathed in the pale blue folds of its
Paper until you gave your name.

The wisp of crunchy paper folded itself
And you left me, becoming a leaf,
Falling gently onto the wooden floor.

I looked through the shutters at the pale
Winter lights falling in their conic sections
Past the line of naked scratching trees.

We kept out desperation with a stamp,
Its glue holding tight in the guts of a jet,
Your yellow hair always touching my chest.

A single grumbling car stalked through the
Garage outside my window, gray primer American
Rising like a wraith when the sun passed.

A roaring car, a skimming jet, an envelope;
Pale blue messengers in a row in the box;
You are in Kent, you are in Norwich;
You are in Marseille, you are in Vienna.

I sit upon a metal chair in my room in DC.
I press the used glue to my lips -- your tongue.
I smell you in the ink, I scent your skin, your Palm.

Teaching English to Austrians. Drinking litres of
Pale lager from lead crystal mugs. I sit and nothing.
The words, large blue block letters on pale blue thin
Paper wax eloquent insouciance towards my acquaintance.

You and I followed the craggy compound of volcanoes,
You and I ran through sand and kissed until the sun
Burnt our flanks. You saved me from plummeting into
Kilauea Caldera as I backed to take a picture.

The faint scent of your cologne still lingers on the
Paper you hid under my pillow. The onion skin was
Saturated with the stuff and your note blurred when
The alcohol thinned the ink.

I pull in any smells from the paper, but it is beginning
To smell more like paper and less like you; more like me
Until I insist that your smell still lingers in my sheets,
A thousand times washed since -- but your skin still
Ruminates in the tight weave.

The paper is poorly lit from the failing sun and I
squint and can't make out the "I love you" anymore.
Fair enough, since I know that is what you intended,
Your smell is fading, you letters are less frequent.

You are living in Vienna, or just outside, and you have
Handsome students who invite you to ski, to share
Wine, to have a massage, to undress, to caress.

The two X-es that mark you name, even now, are the
Genteel pecks of a European. They mean less then
Nothing as it is custom and fashion and mothers,
Friends, and nemesis jot the little marks anyway.

©1993 chris abraham

Jun 08, 1993 05:20 PM