Friend, the summer you saw The Arch of Triumph,
a post card I dreamt about, both of our lives, as usual,
were starting over.
of course we didn’t know it.
Nights I took walks or sat alone on the decrepit front porch.
I was waiting for the cat to come home after mooching all day
on somebody’s leftovers, couch space, air conditioning.
By then I had him for almost two years, a large Holstein-spotted
Tabby your Ex unloaded one Christmas. That same morning,
about 3 a.m., the toilet backed up, flooded my neighbor below.
Between ringing bucket after bucket, collecting newspapers of wet soot,
he drilled a hole in his light to let excess water pour:
Brown, brown, a puddle spouting…
Listening, expecting skin to sizzle, hair to fry, I fell
into infatuation & decided to move, the proximity too incidental,
a temptation whenever loneliness thumped.
Of course I stayed put while, by then, you were touring
England, newly wedded, visiting the in-laws.
Next came Greece, Athens’ ruins & finally, after
an airport bomb threat, mysterious Istanbul with
the trailing after men, & the women, all tall,
anonymous black babushkas.
“It’s scary, but wonderful,” you wrote.
I kept the letter on my bed stand beside a balloon globe
filled with the breath of some close beloved. On the wall, above both,
small pasted on glow-in-the-dark stars shone, all personal constellations
I communed to while sleeping. In fact, they are still there, though a few
have fallen or lost their magical green tint.
This evening on the porch, the sap of two magnificent Blue Spruces
rotting its roof, I visited with my downstairs neighbor, the crush,
(lie, lie) long since gone. He talked of ‘World’s End’, the book,
& worried aloud about the great ozone meltdown. I said to envision
tissues converging over a re-opened wound, listened to locusts
stirring in star-dotted branches, & saw my cat in the beams of an
oncoming car. For a minute breath stopped, then, whoosh, softness
scampering, & his tail curling about my ankles…
Now you’re in Rome, over seas some war bombed.
Scary but wonderful. Friend, you were right.
About the Author
A resident of NY, Stephen Mead is a published outsider artist, writer, maker of short-collage films and sound-collage downloads. If you are at all interested please place his name in any search engine in conjunction with any one of these genres for links to his work or merchandise. After 30 years of being published in small zines and eventually on the web, he is thankful that he has managed to keep a day job for the health insurance