eleanor j jackson

in memoriam

If only you were there with me tonight my love, my lover.
We are still lovers, aren’t we? Always surveilled as such
even now, when we are so distilled from one another,
marked and branded for the way that I have taken you

in my mouth like a new name, or you have worn me
like a peach split glove — these are indelible kinds of affection,
are they not? And so, absent you, coupled beside me
placards in hand, a pamphlet, the number of the helpful service

illuminated on the cyclops jumbotron, I lean
to your freckled cheek, smoothed by the evening chill, and
leave the smudge of my lipstick: pock pit and bruise,
laurel and wreath, headstone and wedding ring.

With a special grief, official voices are making the right
noises, reason rage fundamental sentiment prayer rainbow
love love love hate hate hate there is a sludge of language
and I am compressed in the vacuum of you

the places where you have laid your head collapsing
I can smell nothing but the cleft of your armpit
the seam of your crotch, sea spray, cedar, beeswax
leather, lavender, the minute rigidity of your handwriting.

I ask a kindly stranger in a fake fur jacket to hold my hand
she does
I hold her in return when it becomes too much
to merely add our tremulous choirgirl voices:

feeble lovers           bleak mountain