The First Affair
I rinse my hands of the way your skin felt,
Brush my teeth thinking of how you tasted.
The soap’s scent is reminiscent of your
Intense fragrance, something I won’t forget
In a hurry. I remember the sight
Of you in that red dress, the slight gasps you
Made as my fingers danced up the knuckles
Of your spine. Do you recall the way you
Whined as we made this bed a spinning world
Of sweat and kisses and love? – Do you not
Think about what we carved out of this life
Together? Now as I lay here with her,
Tall clouds darkening above the towns we
Danced in, places my wife never went to,
I fear your face is fading from my thoughts –
I fear you were just the first in my den of lies.
Listen. This deathbed’s bedsheets reek of piss.
You kiss my wrists and feel my heart’s arrhythmic beat.
You weep. I laugh. Distantly, I can hear
Music. All’s left is memories of melodies –
I remember the crescendo of your new-born
Shriek, the way the chords progressed until you dribbled
Prose at my feet, rose, soprano, contralto, verse,
Vibrato, staccato… This sudden cadence
Seems unfair, but what’s worst is your wordless
Goodbyes, performed with piano arpeggios,
And heard through distant shrouded hallway cries –
And the knowing – You’ll love me while the beat dies.