A Letter to Muse, #134

Florida. Remember?
That’s what I called you,
back when you came
in a body, in a moment
of meditation, when you
stood before me,
scantily clad and grinning,

Your long black hair
waving round your chin
down onto your shoulders,
how you stepped out
from the shadows
of nowhere to introduce
yourself to a prone,

Lying boy, about to become
a man, about to become
a poet, just about bursting
at the seams. What awe
you engendered,
what a gift to be flesh,
for even just a moment.

Your hands shifting
round the crick
of my neck, kneading
the muscles at the base
of my skull. Florida,
believed to be a sinful
mist, temptress

And matron, a mystery
who hides in the woods,
away from churches.
Mischievous maiden,
misunderstood, who held
the hands of disciples
to transcribe the bible.

I love you. Even now,
years after your last call,
when all I have to keep
is a photograph, fading,
springing around inside
of my head, and in my nose
the aroma of your scent,

Your accent that smelled
like outside and reminded
me of longing. I still call
to you sometimes,
and on odd days
can guess your reply,
on in my imagination,

In my mind’s eye, make up
that I hear your reflection
echoing around
in the tops of trees,
call and response,
like red breasts
or the pious at Christmas.

Sometimes I believe
I recognize you,
as a squirrel or a bird
rests outside my window,
feigns cleaning or nipping
at some invisible treat,
chirps at me, asks

Why am I not writing.
Silly boy, easily distracted.
In your wisdom, you show
as a distractions, as a wise
woman, as the next rodent
or shiny object, as the spider
cross the bathroom tile,

Insect ending up balled
up in Charmin and tossed
in the bowl, watch
you go down spinning.
Have I murdered you before?
In any of your many forms?
Florida, I have tried each day

To pay homage to you,
not in the old ways, sitting
silently and breathing deeply
until you arrive, preparing
my body and a bed
for our consummation,
but by forcing myself,

At the often cost of a job
and my marriage,
the result being an angry
wife and boss, apartment
in disarray. Each day,
I add a brick to the temple
where I worship you, where

I can lay crumbs at the base
and begin my climb
up the mountain,
to your peaks,
to your apex,
to the place where
they slaughter the body.

I hear the pyramids were born
not from the outside, but in,
that beneath each temple
resides a smaller temple,
nesting dolls to the gods.
And so I build, each day
around the previous,

Each layer fatter, wider,
peaking your interest. Florida,
what I have, you have.
What I can offer
I offer to you. Each breath
not stolen by the wife
or the boss, not taken

by Caesar. I Thank you
for your kind patience
on the days I only show up
after midnight, walking in
late, when you’ve had to jet
to the coast and back,
this is no good for you,

Not the best time,
what you need now
is a good night’s sleep.
red in the eyes, limp hair
tied up in a ponytail,
your sweatshirt stained
from the cup of coffee spilt

On by another traveller
scurrying cross the country,
your overcast makeup
and disheveled luggage.
I still sense your fragrance,
and still feel the nails
of your hands kneading
the tip of my spine.

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A day is not done, until it's filled with words.

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