He figures the air’s there to carry words
for her. Charlie sees it. Her voice shivers it,
her voice: perfect, from a perfect body;
no, imperfect: what wreckage her young body
bore. You wouldn’t think. Those chlorophyll eyes
that wash him, those hands, crushed once
under a world of rocks. That’s the past:
a heart pumping poison, a brain aflame. I
did it to myself, she says, and Charlie
bends to put a hand in; she melts to him.
All that. He’s only a feel and a touch now.
Too much: memory’s a body
full of blood, they’re wet with it.
I’m fine now, she says. She says!
The sound’s a brass bell in a city street.
It’s true! After so many days of night
of Charlie counting time in the door creak.
She says! Charlie would do anything for girl,
and she’s kissing him now. Remember
when sky was brown at noon, Remember
rivers on fire? That apocalypse passed, too.
Now she’s a ripple and a resting pebble, clear
at the bottom. He feels stones in her, that’s
what happened: not a freeze but a foundation.
Charlie says he’ll build a house there,
that ground come clean of chemicals, now she’s
the black soil from which Earth grows. Earth!
Isn’t that a mother born of cataclysm. No lovelies
without the fire, Charlie, she’s a glimmering
and a forged metal. And you? Nevermind.
Girl’s smile is a luminous unlocked door now.
Inside, a librarian is reading the future and Charlie
looks to see what he might hold and steps
into the veranda and the view and the armchair
on which Charlie might rest on which Charlie
might love to rest and to take a tea and to watch.