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Voyeurs, and: Flowers from a New Love after the Divorce
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136 paisley rekdal two poems by Voyeurs A horse falls on a girl in its trailer. The horse is a thoroughbred lame with founder. The girl a girl. You can’t imagine the pain. You can’t because this story isn’t yours, isn’t that of the woman telling it, either. You watch her take the basket of bread, tear it slice by broken slice. When the horse slips in the moving trailer, it pins the girl by her torso to the floor. The woman smiles. If he tries to rise, she says, his shoulder will push downward to her spine. The dull thud of the heart beats against her chest. She orders another glass of wine. You can see the girl’s damp fingers stroke the silken neck. You can’t imagine why the woman looks at you and smiles. The horse 137 will grind its full weight into her. In the light, your thin sleeves sway like flame. An image of the time he grabbed your wrist, twisted till you cried that he would break it. The woman takes the smallest sip of wine. Her face is flushed. A lock of hair is caught inside your mouth. One quick twist of shoulder. Another glass of wine? Voices sweep the metal, echo through the trailer. What to say of the dim shapes moving there in the dark? Straw rustles. The breath grows shallower. You watch the damp face twist, the hands reach out to tear another, broken slice. 138 Flowers from a New Love after the Divorce Cut back the stems an inch to keep in bloom. So instructs the florist’s note enclosed inside the flowers. Who knew what was cut could heal again, the green wounds close, stitching themselves together? It doesn’t matter. The flowers, red and white, will bloom awhile, then wither. You sit in an unlit room and watch the vase throw crystal shadows through the dark. The flowers’ colors are so lovely they’re painful. In a week, you’ll have to throw them out. It’s only hope that makes you take out scissors, separate each bloom and cut where you last measured. Did you know Venus was said to turn into a virgin each time she bathed? She did it as a mark of love. She did it to please her lover. Perhaps, overwhelmed by pain, she eventually stopped bathing altogether. It doesn’t matter. It’s a pleasure to feel the green nubs stripped, watch the stems refresh under your blade. They’re here because they’re beautiful. They glow inside your crystal vase. And yet the flowers by themselves are nothing: 139 paisley rekdal only a refraction of color that, in a week or two, will be thrown out. Day by day, the water lowers. The red and white heads droop, blacken at the stems. It doesn’t matter. Even cut stems heal. But what is the point of pain if it heals? Some things should last forever, instructs the florist’s note. Pleasure, says one god. Shame, says another. Venus heads, they call these flowers. In a week or two, you’ll lose the note, have to call the florist up. With sympathy, you’ll think he says. Perhaps: With love. It doesn’t matter. You’ve stopped bathing. Alone, you sit before the crystal vase refracting you in pieces through the dark. You watch the pale skin bloom inside it, wither. You petal, inch by inch. You turn red and white together. ...