Guest Poet Cheryl Higgins

Losing the Light

What sold me on the architect's
clever evening tour
besides designer lighting and
too many vodka-bitters
wasn't this relentless dawn
scraping every skylight in every room

but chasing you into this one
where you hid behind the big chair
and the quarter-moon paled your foot
wet, still, from testing the spa
in your cocktail gown.

When you snatched it back
from the pale light, it was then
I thought I could live here with you
all folded against the west wall
listening to me pretend to lose interest
and read erotic sonnets aloud to the moon.

Or was it finding a corner of Cassiopeia from your pillow
unlike any other from mine?

Did I ever live here?

With this unsleepable light so brass
and working before the paper even hits the door.
Through the sliders, a glass, still, of ginwater
gathers gnats and a few acorn caps
from the last one-night-stand.

My robe wet on the rail.

I'm wearing yours.

Why did I want to hurt you one last time?
I said, leave the robe, its mine, but it wasn't,
not really, or why did I sacrifice my own
last night to the ONS, and stalk, naked, moody
after I lost that first slurred
slip of your name to the roaring tub?

I'm trailing the belt behind me and my morning coffee.
Your robe's too long for my tastes
alien, familiar, it slides on my skin
not unlike your more wakeful nights
in and out of my dreams.

I thought I had something of yours, after all,
from the pocket, a letter to me or a note
declarant or confessional, either would do.
What I found was some acorn caps
and the architect's designer card.
We'd called that night from a pay phone
the moon fulled, that bright star swung low.
I'd said we'd forgotten the price.
You said we never asked.

"What we forgot, I heard a voice
behind me say, was everything else.
Love will leave us alone if we let it."

Tell me the price.

Out on the road, love winds away in the dark.
The moon strobes it through the trees.
The night follows its own unlit way.

September, 2000

The Albany Poetry Workshop