Alice O. Howell
Psyche spends three warm nights with Eros
they lie together uncovered and entwined
and watch the fireflies out the open window -
the first night is a tumult
when she awakes, he is gone
so she changes the sheets
has seconds on bacon and eggs.
the second night is sweet, languorous
full of tenderness
every question she asks
he stifles with another kiss
The moon is reticent, discreet
a thousand years ago or a thousand miles away
the ocean turns over smiling in its sleep
when Psyche awakes, he is gone again
but she finds a note propped up against the coffee pot:
"I love you!"
she makes the bed with troubled eyes
would he, if he really knew?
the third night he is late
but hungry, it seems, for more and more of her -
they knock the clock over
time scatters in little pieces on the floor
would he? Psyche asks herself.
Eros sleeps, his breath tickling her ear
the sweet spice of him engulfs her
but Psyche cannot sleep
she gets up, stumbling over the
fragments of eternity which cut her feet
she curses softly
an owl warns in the distance
she goes to the bathroom door and without thinking
turns on the light
he is far younger than she!
a mere boy with sleep caught in his lashes!
she stands in the doorway
feasting her eyes on the beauty of him
but not Eros
"You fool!" he hisses, "you fool! What did I tell you!"
then he pulls on his pants, ties his shoes with emphasis
without another word
he lets himself out, slamming the door.
Psyche sees him out the window one last time
the match flaring his face
as he angrily lights a cigarette
she puts on her old pink chenille dressing gown
gathers the broken clock pieces philosophically
into a black dustpan
in her broken-down slippers, she goes to let out the cat
takes in the paper and sees the grey dawn
but by the time the water has boiled for coffee for one
she is already bent over the table
a thousand years or a thousand miles away
the ocean heaves again and sighs
for it is full of such tears.
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