Every time we spend the night together I am amazed at how pale and smooth her body is despite the maddening heat of summer. The air is thick, and it grants a special separation between us in the sickly, yellowed urban evening. I am a mess of sweat and paranoia, as usual, but she continues to sleep, the curves of her ivory limbs hiding dark secrets. She is dreaming, occulted in stygian waters.
She turns her head and faces me, the symmetry of her face cutting me like a blade. Tell me, she says, her eyes two fragments of jade set in lines of obsidian, tell me why you won’t blink this moment away.
Am I asleep now? Did I slip away? No, I’m still here listening to the oblique sounds of traffic outside the second story window. I had slid over her and floated down off the bed; the carpet is burning my bare feet. I sit on a chair draped with gray clothing, scrabbling at the aching veins my temples. It is close to two in the morning, but the heat has yet to abate. Lightning has been splitting the sky every few minutes, but no rain falls.
Now I am slipping on my pants and stepping outside. The debris of summer lies still on the mottled gray streets; there is no wind, only the distant moaning of traffic. The neon sign for the sandwich shop across the street is dark; I’m caught in the hazy, amber light of the two streetlamps. Sentries, these whispering demons I hide, guarding against betrayal. I decide that I need to go back in.
It will blink, and thus disappear in an instant. It will perish in a desert of ivory.
Love never dies a natural death. It dies because we don’t know how to replenish its source. It dies of blindness and errors and betrayals. It dies of illness and wounds; it dies of weariness, of witherings, of tarnishings.