Posts Tagged ‘night

27
Sep
13

Twenty-six

In a room lit by stars, your arms, gentle, insistent, draw me in to nestle against you.
The moon arches its back and the midnight sky
Curls around it to enfold it, pulling it close and holding it there.
A night breeze ruffles and lifts my hair;
Your soft sleeping breath against my shoulder stirs my heart.

04
Feb
13

Like a dog-eared page corner

The cat’s upward-thrust leg marks the spot
she was washing
Before headlights on the wall
Drew her eye
Dazzling her
Making her lose- for just an instant- her place in the bath.

13
Feb
11

The Forgotten Way

She tripped over a tree root and stumbled.
He caught her by an elbow to stop her fall, steadied her
With a hand on each shoulder and a kiss on the nose.
He looked up at the sky.
Brought his hands together sharply- twice.
A moment of darkness before he repeated the motion just once
Stars burst back into brilliance; the moon shone brighter than a copper pot.
“Why didn’t you do than an hour ago?” she asked.
“I’d kind of forgotten I could,” he said.
He reached for her hand and they walked on.

13
Sep
10

Moonlight And More So

The world is much more so
When I’m trying to fall asleep:
Bubbles in the Perrier pinging against their green glass prison;
Cats who discreetly waited till after midnight to consummate their lust;
Unread and partially read books jostling for position in the bedside pile;
Chocolate with sea salt and chocolate with ginger breathing darkly through the gaps in the drawers;
Moonlight- somehow brighter than the sun was at noon- slanting through the blinds, sparkling on the needles in my abandoned knitting;
And words cartwheeling in my brain wanting to be couplets and paragraphs.
Bubbles and chocolates and words, where were you all day?
Will any of you still be hanging around when I wake up?

11
Sep
10

You Never Know

On rickety legs and sturdy canes they cross the parking lot. Well-groomed but unassuming. The old man sporting a crisp white shirt and bolo tie; the old woman in a newly de-pilled green cardigan. She is not wearing a head scarf because she is not Russian and the weatherman has not predicted rain. (She has several at home though. One is very similar to that worn by Helen Mirren in the film “The Queen”. Another has been treated with a Japanese water repellent which according to the label renders the scarf impervious to rain, snow or sleet.) Neither is he, in truth, a cowboy but he likes the affectation and- on days they go to the doctor- it gives the young receptionists something to comment on and to talk to each other and to him about while his wife is digging in her purse for their insurance cards.

Today they are going to the doctor. No one pays them any attention except a small middle-aged woman who seems to think she’s a French sailor. She looks them up and down then winks. The old man and old woman nod pleasantly at her in greeting and all three continue on their way. The middle-aged woman- being the kind who likes to have a story to tell about wherever she happens to have gone and whomever she may have met- will later describe the couple to her friends and they will say “aw” and coo about how sweet they sound and how wonderful it is to find a soulmate and lifelong companion in this mean old world. The old couple, on the other hand, will never think of her again.

After the doctor’s visit they may have lunch at the community center set up especially for old folks- they’re known as “50 or Better” as if Life were one big poker game and you had to waste half your years sitting by without being able to open- or they may go home and have some soup and a sandwich or some leftovers. Then the afternoon stretches before them like a patient anesthetized upon a table and their choices are limited only by their energy and the amount of gas in the car. Bingo, bunko, movies, classes, museums, shopping- they are 70 or better with disposable income so the world is their oyster. Today they settle on liver and onions at the community center then staying for a showing of a remastered copy of “It Happened One Night.” Tomorrow it may be lunch eaten watching the barges on the river then a walk along the banks looking for the new family of ducks.

But every night at 8:30- except for Wednesdays when they go to prayer meeting at the church- they put the car in the garage, lock all the doors, and flip on the porch lights. He puts Richard Wagner’s “Ring Cycle” on the stereo and turns the volume up so it fills the house, very nearly shaking the vases on the end tables and the special occasion dishes in the china cabinet. The old man and old woman go to their bedrooms and close the doors. When they emerge minutes later, they have been transformed! They are wearing black pants and white ruffled shirts made from the finest silk which has been harvested from the most select silkworms who were cruelly and unceremoniously plunged into hot water to meet their deaths. (This does not bother the couple because someday- they have no doubt- they too will unceremoniously and possibly cruelly meet their deaths.) The old woman has tucked her hair under a large hat with an even larger feather on it. Thus attired they advance towards each other until they are only a few feet away. They bow. They turn their backs to each other, walk three steps, pull the lower third of their canes away from the handle end, and shout “En garde!” Then they fence. The roaring and crashing of the instruments performing Wagner’s masterpiece barely drowns out the clanging and shouting of the swords and those wielding them.

After perhaps twenty minutes of their clash, their bodies dampen with perspiration and their elderly throats grow dry. The old man pours each of them a glass of chilled wine, they quaff it and take up their weapons again. Wagner rages as they fight and drink deep into the night until they are too tired or stiff or glowing to go on. Then the old woman turns off the stereo and the old man sweeps her up and into his arms, deliberately dislodging her hat so that her silver locks tumble down to frame her face then to tickle his forearm where it peeps from his shirt sleeve. He carries her the half-dozen steps to the bottom of the stairs, they climb at their own pace, and she stops at the top to wait for him to sweep her up again and carry her into the guest room.

They shed their clothes with great eagerness- music still ringing in their ears and wine flowing in their veins. Some nights they make love then; other nights the intimacy is spiritual and emotional instead. Later, one after the other they’ll rise to visit the bathroom and make the quiet return to their own bedroom to sleep the rest of the night.

In the morning, they’ll awaken, dress, breakfast, and go about their errands, indistinguishable from any other couple a decade or so past middle age that you might happen to see. Then again…you never know.

16
Feb
10

Night Shift

As I pause in the doorway of their bedroom,
I can see the moonlight filtering through the blinds,
Shining in the Vick’s Vapo-Rub on Mom’s top lip.
I don’t want to disturb the cat or wake Mom up;
She got so little sleep last night I’m surprised
She made it all the way into her nightgown and bed
Before she was down for the count. The Vick’s
Seems to have helped a little; She’s still congested but
At least she’s snoring now and if she’s snoring then
She’s sleeping and breathing and that’s all I
Wanted to know. I just wanted to check on her.
And that’s why I’m standing here in the doorway,
In the moonlit darkness, where she used to stand
All those nights years ago to check on me.

13
Feb
10

Fate Pays The Rent (Twenty-third Installment)

“How did we go from your toe-curling love of Mr. Gomez to commands from God?” Josh said.
“All the time I try to talk with Aaron about the building and how I want him to put in a good word for Mr. Gomez and all the time he is busy with his own work. Then one night I come here late at night and his door is a little bit open. The lights are off and he always locks the door so I know he must be in there alone.”
“Weren’t you worried about going into a dark office with a slightly open door?”
“Aren’t you listening, Powell? She was in love.”
“A little bit of light was coming through the blinds and I can see Aaron lying on the floor behind the desk. I think he must have been working and decided to rest here instead of going home.”
“Did you know he suffered from migraines?”
“What?”
“Never mind. Just go on with the story.”
“I walk over to him and say, ‘I need to talk with you about Mr. Gomez and the cleaning’.”
“What did he say?” Gary asked.
“He didn’t say anything. He was looking at me because I could see the light from the window shining on his eyes.”
“Was he moving?”
“No. He was just looking at me and he didn’t move and he didn’t say anything. So I told him again. ‘I need to talk with you about Mr. Gomez and the cleaning.’ And he still didn’t say anything but he turned his head toward the window.”
“That must have been a good trick.”
“Quiet!”
“Then I heard a voice but I knew it wasn’t his. I looked around and there was just me and him in the office and I knew it must be God.”
“Because she has regular conversations with him out loud.”
Clement frowned at Josh. “What did God say?”
“He said to me, ‘If you love me and you love Mr. Gomez and you love your people, you must kill this man.’ I said, ‘Aaron, God is telling me I have to kill you to save the building for Mr. Gomez. What should I do?’”
“Did he answer that time?”
“No, he still said nothing and God said, ‘He can’t hear me because he doesn’t believe. You pray to me and I answer your prayers but this man doesn’t answer you when you are physically in the same room with him. I talk with you because I care for you but this man cares so little about you that he turns his head away when you speak to him.”
“Then what happened?”
“I said, ‘Aaron, why won’t you talk to me? I thought we knew each other but now you don’t even recognize me. Why are you looking out the window instead of at me?’”
“And?”
“And God said, ‘He doesn’t look at you because he feels you are not worth looking at. He has no respect for you or for your people. You must rise up and kill him so people like him will learn to respect you and your people and so Mr. Gomez will be safe. When you do this thing, I will give you a new name. Your name will no longer mean sadness but miracle.’ God told me he would give me the name ‘Milagra’ and I would not be Dolores anymore because I made a miracle happen for me and for Mr. Gomez and for the Mexican people.” Her eyes were shining with tears and Clement realized she wasn’t feeling any regret for what she had done.
“How did you decide on the shovel as a weapon?” Buzz asked.
Dolores looked up at the ceiling. “I knew that if God asks you to do something then you need to do it fast. I remembered how he told Abraham that a sacrifice would be provided and I knew if he wanted me to sacrifice Aaron then he would give me a weapon. I looked around and I saw the shovel shining by the door.”
“You never thought about walking out the door and just keeping going? Did you hear anyone outside?” Clement was thinking of Jeff saying he had almost gone into the building but got scared and left. If he’d actually come in, could he have saved Aaron’s life? Would Dolores have attacked him too or could he have fought her off and called the EMS to counteract the drink Mari had given him?
“God said he would give me a new name and I picked up the shovel and went over to Aaron. Maybe I ran because when he came back with the shovel he was closer to the door than I remembered. He was lying there and the shovel was shining and his face was shining and when I saw his face like that I felt the strength of God flowing through my body and through my arms and a smaller voice in my heart said, ‘Look how his face is shining. You’re going to be sending him home to God.’”
“And then you did it? After the little voice said that?”
Milagra’s face was shining too but it looked as if she was lit up by a spotlight from the inside rather than streetlights on the outside. “I saw his face shining and I felt the power of God in my body as I lifted the shovel and I brought it down with all the strength of God. Then I saw his head sitting on the blade of the shovel and he looked like John the Baptist and I knew he was with God.” She took another sip of coffee.
“That’s a good story, Milagra, but I wouldn’t count on God being too happy with you,” Josh said. “Forgiving sin is one thing but I’ve never heard of him looking kindly on failure.” Milagra’s eyes widened and Clement thought she looked upset for the first time since she’d begun relating what happened. “Yeah. You see, you didn’t do what God asked you to do. You didn’t cut off Aaron Whittaker’s head. We talked to the coroner and he told us the spine wasn’t severed. You have to slice all the way through the spine for it to count as decapitation.”
“I did what God commanded! He told me to kill Aaron and I did.”
“Whether you killed him or whether you didn’t is something a judge is going to have to decide. Aaron Whittaker wasn’t ignoring you; He was in a diabetic coma. If you’d called 911 and gotten some people in here to help him there’s a good chance we’d be celebrating you as some kind of a hero right now. You might even get a city holiday with your name on it.”
“No! I cut off his head with a shovel!”
“No. I’m not sure whether I should say ‘I’m sorry to tell you’ but the fact is you didn’t. In order to cut all the way through the spine you’d have to be a lot stronger or a lot crazier than you are and maybe both. You haven’t saved Mr. Gomez any trouble either.” Milagra threw the coffee at Josh and put her hands over her face. “We’ll be looking into whether or not he knew you planned to kill Aaron Whittaker and if he was involved in your unnecessary mission to save his job. He may not lose any contracts he already has but I’m guessing it will be hard for him to get any new ones.”
Milagra wrapped her arms around herself and started rocking on the chair. “Oh, Mr. Gomez. Mr. Gomez, I’m so sorry. Oh, Mr. Gomez.”