Across the dark, six winters past, clear cobalt sky found me in her bewitching gaze.

Azure spheres simmering aflame, for me.

Such fission entwined flesh.

Valves of a once beating heart: no longer the brass section of devotion’s orchestra.

Something wondrous, rotten from the start until it finally fell apart.

One necrotic half – learning to walk upright, from broken knees.

The other – moving swiftly in the opposite direction. Remaining animate through a necromancy of denial.

In vagabondage I burn. Two facets of that necrosis, stood in a late December window.

Where my cherished necromantress is, I can but guess…

Partitioned from the ordinary world.

Set apart due to a vibration frequency unlearned, not yet integrated.

Suffocating on images of her: memory-rendered in antique monotone.

Captured behind one such partition of super-heated sand, while railing against diamond fractures until bloodied knuckles provide solace in scarlet copper effluent.

Drunk on your perfection: perceived in well intention. Delusion I failed to decipher.

Then lost. Walked away from, because I could not walk alongside.

You couldn’t stand the intrusion, could you?

Forever, now, is it?

‘Whats’ forever?’ the other me asks. ‘If not until one of you dies?’

Or falls out of that dead gnarled tree: wooden grasping hand clawing it’s way from the dead earth we once took for love?

The other me laughs, privy as he is to my thoughts. His dry tenor echoes from the bare walls of my empty house.

Hot tears escape my face.

‘Hush now, the other me chides. ‘You wouldn’t be here with me, if she’d been worth those salt water wishes.’

‘Anyway, you love pain,’ I continue.

‘Do I?’ I ask myself. ‘Why would I?’

‘It reminds you the joy you once felt in her arms, between her thighs, was real. Real. Now, there’s a hilarious concept.’ 

Self-respect: the other me’s name – laughs again, but the bitterness comes from needy hurting me, engulfed by her absence, not him. He’s trying to wake me up as he gives birth to himself. Confused? I would not blame you. I know I am.

‘Drink some more coffee,’ he suggests. ‘Smoke another Montecristo. Caffeine and nicotine may ease your desperation?’ But I’m mocking myself now. Vindictive to the last. Hateful to myself. The other me heard that too.

‘You can’t pour out the hate and refill it with someone else, fool. Are we learning that, yet?’

‘That you can’t resuscitate someone who’s been dead their entire life?’ I ask me.

Attaboy!’ The stern affirmation from the dark empty room…

My chest is on fire, Sarah. Why do I still miss you, so much?!

Why didn’t you run after me, once – and for all? Were all my articles of tireless devotion unread, even when I finally stopped producing them?

‘So strong a body. So noble and huge a heart. Overrun with care, for a gallery of images… That’s all they were, Stephen: images.’

‘What I felt was no image!’ I protest myself, haughtily as mouth tissues shrivel vinegar dry and ashen; a chapped internal landscape, baked in vitriol. Sour taste on my gums, a paste of blood and bone meal.

‘Tastes good, doesn’t it?’ Self-respect asks me cheerily. ‘I’d hoped all those years of grinding your bones for others’ bread would finally throw you out of that stagnant bed.’

‘What?’ I demand hotly, smearing liquid care across my face as it leaks from my eyes. I’m pissing me off, now.

‘The one you made with the dream woman you conjured from the self-loathing abandoned little girl on the platform in the rain, holding a parasol while she waits for her Mother to love her, instead of the abandonment she received. That haunts you as well as her, still…’

‘What the fuck are you talking about?!’ I scream at me but I know what I mean. A proud daughter who wanted to be wanted, hardened by pride into a barrier against what she craves.

‘Darkness can’t love Darkness,’ Me tells me, thinking aloud, as he carries boxes of us labelled ‘stuff’ into the room, just in case I’m ever ready to unpack. ‘There has to be some light. Who taught you to despise yourself so much, that you endlessly search for validation you’ll only find right here? I poke me in the spleen, hard.

We already know who taught her to hate herself. Inability to be vulnerable is a weakness you don’t share. It will keep her alone, but not you…’

December’s frozen tears fall outside our window. A vagabond heart looks to build a home; striving no longer to endlessly search in derelict shells…


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