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CLOSE / Parnassiad

Peace and Other Stories

Fragments of a Formerly Active Sex Life

The Forgotten Painting
by Marc Sobel  /  poetry  /  10 Jul 2007

We walk through yellowing thickets
Of dried stalks pushing through wet sand
And palm leaves crunching underfoot
And we hold hands as if the decay surrounding us
Is a joke, some forgotten painting  

Above, the skies rumble with intent
And darken us with swimming shadows
Boasting ominous threats of a torrential downpour
Yet, even obscured, your smile is unshakable,
A night star that is my only light  

As the first drops strike our rocky perch
And our breath lightens with the air
Your wings unfold, stretch and tremble in the prevailing gusts
And, with one last, long, knowing look, you're gone
Rising toward the churning clouds  

For minutes we are battered as we circle each other
Our dance in rhythm with the swelling storm
Backflips on violent currents, ever shifting
Carry us treacherously close to the jagged peaks below
Circled amidst the screaming tides  

But I am drawn to you like a magnet,
More than lovers, more than soulmates, eternals
Defiant in our shared thoughts, fearless of nature
It is our ritual that consumes me,
Our flight of destiny  

But soon the skies unleash their assault
And in the fury, I am blinded
Flattened, freefalling, frozen with panic
Toward the unforgiving waves of a savage sea
I call to you but the winds shatter my cries  

Night consumes me
Where once joy filled this tiny capsule
A void now echoes my despair
I try to stand but I am broken, my body destroyed
And like a derelict ship, I float aimless upon the water  

Through seven sunrises and eight sunsets I drift
Clinging to driftwood while the Sun taunts me with its penetrating rays
A slow withering has begun inside my chest
A gnawing, hopeless prison, my life ebbs
And though I cry your name, my voice is weak and ravaged  

On the eighth night, as the light bleeds from the sky
I hear your song whispered on the westerly breezes
And for a second, I forget my decaying shell
And stretch my crushed wings in a burst of hope
But I am greeted only by pain and the laughing winds  

Another week passes, and I am resigned to fate
I welcome death's sweet embrace,
And long for freedom from this isolated misery
Yet for some reason, my body's demise does not release me
And I remain a prisoner inside my own corpse  

Weeks, perhaps months pass but time has escaped my measure
The rhythms and cycles of the earth are a blur
My eyes have been plucked by vultures
And my wings' remnants are pasty, decaying clumps
I am no longer dependent on the planet for life  

Yet still I think, even without breath, and I dream
My memory refuses to dissipate into the ether
For hours I am lost in tempestuous contemplation
Of light or sounds I once ignored
Above all, I listen for your sweet call  

My riddled mind echoes with questions
About my unusual and inexplicable fate
Was I forgotten by the spirits, abandoned by my creator
Or have I been cursed with life eternal
And what am I to do with such limitless time?  

Finally, this morning my hollow branch struck bottom
And cast my fleshless bones in a heap upon the sand
Though my sight is gone, I know this shore
The scents of juniper, the waves crashing against the rocks
It is ours, where once we danced as careless lovers  

And with the realization, I suddenly am aware of a warmth
Washing through the dusk I have occupied for months
A mounting light smiles through open curtains
And a sweet song, like wind-chimes
Swirls my last thoughts like a pile of dead leaves.

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