What Happens Behind Turned Backs

I could have known another facet of you,

Had I only read the letters that went up in

Flames, or shredded, out of my hands, deviated

From the history you manufactured for us both.


I let you catch dust on all of my pedestals.

Your wandering hands engraved their mechanisms

Within me and weaved their desires into my voice.

My body rages against your gestures, your death, your

Sudden present silence.


I think of all the women in your life

And ask myself why you held on to a girl.

Why you burdened me with your secrecy and pain.

Why I got to know and understand a part of you

That nobody knew existed, or would ever defend and benedict,

Or that everybody denied and locked away,

Preaching it into oblivion.


You were the composer of the ebbs and floods in my body.

You come and won’t let me go.

You hold me and throw me away.

It is a long rope you attached to me.

I smell you in the darkness, ours, the concentrated fingers,

The hot air between your lips, the clutched tongue,

The downward-spiralling contemplations

That forced my body into numbness.


“Portrait of Princess Elizabeth Caroline” by Jean-Étienne Liotard (1702-1789)



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