a cold, wet day

by David T. Gay

a cold, wet day

The road’s a lake with white fins shooting up as cars roll on

The sky’s a bleak gray cross-hatched with lines of water

Worms like snakes oozing out of the mud and ants lining my walls looking for someplace dry

It’s winter, not a snow globe mirrored in the bulbous multifaceted eye of a giant praying mantis

Who might, godlike, link this weather to the inauguration of a demonic troll

It’s just winter, when my mom’s deteriorating like a fire left to burn too long in a log

And the log crackles, spits sparks, collapses in its crematorium

I’m alone in the big house with pine floors and no porch light

My bed’s an altar to something that’s missing

And that’s why I’m writing this morning

Polar bear

I don’t know why, it never made sense to me, the abandonment, the divorce

The two beautiful children, boy and girl, prince and duchess of the apple trees

Condemned to watch their parents axe the crown in two, Solomon’s baby solution

Me in this giant house all alone, my ex-wife in our cozy, homely hovel, a Rivendell

Tucked in with her graybeard (and I don’t want to imagine what they’re up to right now)

But as compensation I have my memories of you

I look at them now in a different place, a forest where you will join me soon

And I know, whenever I write, the online forums cackle and hiss at me, the critics scoff

That I speak directly to One Person, as if you were all that mattered in the world, your heart

Or my heart is so much greater than all the proud hearts of the readers with their troubles

And I indulge the conceit that "heart" means "love" or that "love" means anything at all, it’s slimy

To which I retort, we live in a world of worms, ants, rats, murderers, Donald Trumps

Does it matter that to survive loneliness I would write eternal words for the sake of one woman?

Is it so very wasteful? Is it wrong? Then I build my soul on wrongness

You are my future and past

Memories no more than cell phone photos, a scribbled note or two in your handwriting

We never embraced the way lovers do, my breath becoming the wings of angels

My desire folding you into the dizzy brandy of my holiday nog like egg whites

Until next Christmas we sit naked before a truncated pine tree daubed with red and gold

Laughing and caressing at all the Hawaii that’s melded around us and blazed our financial success

San Diego beach

The world can change, only we can change it, we must survive to make a difference

And I am slowly fading, extinguished for lack of adoration, my altar has been left bare

Not even pickings for crows, not even soft repose for crones, no, not even a fruit

A forbidden red apple, glossy as plastic, no, not even that made its way to bolster my godhood

I hammered my life with this kind of blasphemy, a Japanese swordsmith

Who ribbons liquid steel in layer after layer, pounded to thinness

Until the profile becomes invisible, the edge that cuts through clouds, lightning, age, death

And with this sword I made a place for us

I see you, I know you, it is not hard to understand you want my muscles to surround your skin

Why then do you say nothing? You do not believe this fountain of potency holds magic for you?

My friend, there is no other enchantment

I did not put on the mantle of Eternity lightly, as it were a maroon cotton scrap tugged on

I spent years tickling the letters from pages, the curving black squiggles that hold secrets

Linked from writer to reader, preparing the next hatch of spirit-thirsty life

And these, stirred to breath and pulse again by virtue of my attention, I absorb

I concentrate, I radiate, to benefit the young

With my head bowed to the ignorance with which I began this quest:

Long ago, I drew the lover in myself, my one and only tattoo

The risk of wagering my entire life on one draw did not daunt me, I was a teenage fool

I put my pride on the table, risked years of loneliness, obscurity, failure

Because I felt sure a woman would respond to my enormous vulnerability

And the payoff would be a galaxy, a night full of stars, a paradise life

But the odds turned against me and more rational bets served my rivals

I failed to observe the rules of the myth, did not feed the Fenris

Drank too much Lethe, and so I cracked in the ire, the punishment of the gods

More fair to say the hearts of women are no more profound than those of men

And as I am unique, afire, gold and silver like tinsel, a nebulous crown on my head, unseen

So too must I embrace the woman who knows the same is true of her

No lesser girl will do

Vernal Fall

This pride of mine, it has no great claim to virtue

It does not concern the choices of a nation or society

Nor words of the Bible, nor Grimm’s Fairy Tales

I write my own choices

In the voice of the god I know, the faithful one

And this terrifies you

Don’t be afraid

Come to me, take my hand, tell me you want me to embrace you

You know you desire it

The dread inhibiting you is the only barrier between your loneliness and my orchard

Look beyond the gate of the garden, to the green lawn, the crooked pomegranate tree, the pear

It is almost summer, a warm day under a blue sky, and I have a bottle of dreams in my hands

Can you believe it? I’ve been waiting here for you for decades, and I am so happy to see you come