Lessons in Solitude

By July 17, 2010On Love, Southeast Asia

That I could sit, silent, in the dingy yellows
of lanky grass, frail and translucent

as my grandfather’s hands. And the way each
blade moves just as he does. Full of care and

always to the same places. That I could follow
the single ant marching adamant through

the drought-hardened canyons of my heel. His
seemingly random procession an infantry,

a victory parade for the strongest creature
on earth. And that my nanometers of nerve

endings will never register this glory until
he reaches the fragile dunes and plains

of ankle and calf. And while he charges blindly
into unknown lands, the first salty solider

of my own treks cowardly in the minute valley
of my nape, afraid to find resistance even

on a path smooth with wear, and aims to settle
in the shadowy foxhole peeking above the elastic

at my hips. That he does not know I saved his life
when I lifted the light cotton from my skin to let him

pass into the promised land. But this is a train
to Bangkok, and solitude is not a city. From this maudlin

vinyl, it is dust suspended in sunlight precisely
divisioned by four steel bars. The vapor

of dream that dissipates further with each moment
once you wake. That leaves you nothing but

a void and a grasp and the ineluctable realization
you can’t ever get that precious sliver back.

Eyes open in weak defiance, fingers arched
against the dirty glass clawing their way to a place

they can’t recall and when they dropped limp like
broken bones or hearts my solitude starved to loneliness.

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