Why You Haven’t Seen Me in Awhile

After you left, I crawled deep under my bed down the hidden cavern to where I keep my devious contraptions. Unscrewing a stalactite, I unearthed the secret photographs I’d taken with my eye machine of you, sleeping or sweating and always very naked. I donned the special coat I only wear for scheming and slunk down an alley, knocking on a certain door that trembled like a mouth in the rain. I knew a guy. He’d deposed royalty with a single lock of hair, but as he stooped over your photos, shuffling, a new smile squirmed onto his face. They were too good, is what he said, and we chartered a boat to the coast of Crete where he knew a guy, he said, who’d be better at dealing this particular hand. Oh, how it grew away from me, the whole broiling plot. We rose from bending back alleys to galleries by the sea. How they swooned over you, ancient art collectors with their hands still warm from fingering Epimetheus. One by one, my photographs were auctioned away. Some made to hang in ornate frames in salt buffeted bedrooms. Some locked away in cabinets full of crystal. They heaped gold upon me, decorating me like the sole medium to a god. Their ardor grew to a fever pitch. Enlarging some photos, the townspeople built giant floats for parades or carried you to sea like a saint set adrift in a halo of bindweeds. Rudely copied versions of you appeared on t-shirts, candles, even scapulars which tourists snatched up with wild abandon. I’d meant to disgrace you, you see, to your friends and neighbors but here I am, so far away from you and everyone, and it’s gotten away from me too. Even now, I can hear them outside my tiny apartment raising a call for you. I can’t move under my many jeweled hats, but I can hear them, can hear their passion pulsing through the cold clay of my bedroom walls. They are in love with you, every one of them, and it is my fault. I should have never let anyone see you through my eyes.

Published in Gigantic Sequins 2010.

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