The consequence of eye contact
becomes apparent whenever you say
“I love you.” When you say “I love you,”
and the light bulb flickers to the scribble
of the end of your tongue, I have to feel
my hope is near its reward. I love
this movie, the actor’s eyes seem to say,
and the glow around the projector’s bulb
wrinkles as it smiles back, and then the
character is beat to death onscreen. She
had been in love with someone else too
much and not enough with herself, not
enough to be saved. As the interrogator
spoke her lover’s name, she looked up
as if to ask “Does he still live?” As we
leave the theater, I look down into your eyes
as if to ask “What could I have done?”
If I am to hope your love is real,
your look in reply means “You could have
torched the theater.” If I am not to hope,
your look means “Nothing.”
Sucking on a penny in our eyes until we started tasting, both of us together, something as sharp as sugar.
Thin slices of cured meat lain across her eyelids. The body, it tortures the soul.
I became afraid of childish things, so much so I very often could not hide it. I trembled as I was approached with a toy or any other item redolent of that particular nostalgia.
The magnificence that gathers while we fuck. How to describe it? Even in an orgy, eyes, most, were always on us, combing our skin for any hint of our secrets, trying to see their way into our vision, trying to sap our breath to their lungs.
A toy knife is still a knife, in the way that pretend money is still money.
I remember being so timid I wanted my soul to die, but you held me there and put four fingerprints on my cheekbone, and because you wouldn’t let me leave I was finally able to stay.
The day after the funeral I took possession of my father’s things, as well as what was meant for my brother, as he had died too. I was sad and not very in control of what I said or did or thought. And so in grief I had probably misunderstood some of what I found in my father’s papers later that night, but in any case, of a particular book my father kept, in which he wrote things I’m sure nobody else ever saw, only this small section, presumably regarding my mother, remains:
Back when we were together, she couldn’t read. Now she knows the law and how to make a sentence enact it. But if she tells anyone about it, well. Watch. What hasn’t she asked? What else? What has she overused? What does she say she’s hungry for? Love? Did you think you knew what it was? A person?
Say you want to live in the history of love rather than, say, the history of war. The history of death. And maybe you, in this desire, call the city inside you. And all the people run to you, through, there, inside you, welcome, yes, oblivious and basically delighted…would you not be responsible for keeping them safe? For not crushing them?
As for my brother’s things, I assume his girlfriend has kept them or disposed of them. As for my mother, I do not know if she has received news of the accident, or if she has died already too.