verbal
Have Gun, Will Travel
of Pam Grier in the film "Coffy"
Have Gun, Will Travel

This is not vanity.
     Here error is all in the not done,
all in the diffidence that faltered.
   —Ezra Pound
The mailbox at the foot of the stairs is tenantless; there is one Jesus pamphlet - his arms outstretched, gesture. The depressions in his hands, bereft.

Moths circle the metal slot like gossamer, a skein of moths.

My own letters, vanished, unspeakable confessions: blackmail - fields of iris - love retracting its yellow claws.

I have fewer friends. Tired of heartbreak, they avert their eyes, what have you done to yourself? An incision, an accident: I have been impressed by his ardour, a memory of crescents, faint receding sky.

He loves me. I suffer his silence, its needles and pins, with pleasure. This is not vanity: the Carmelite nuns that pass me on the street, their heads bowed, his arched collar, his vows, piety,

nausea. A terrible song It must be him, it must be him. Reason occluded, a quarter sun in the dark field of spirits. If stars assemble in language, clouds replicate the plush sphere of his mouth,

it must be him, I am dressed in my starched nurse-whites, the simple gown and three-cornered hat, a red cross. As I place my cool blue lingerie, my hot pink peignoir in a portmanteau,

this little gun of metal and pearl.

He confided in me that he was afraid of murder, poison, suffocation - he wanted me to feel

dangerous. Secure that he may reserve his affection, the promises he breaks: I will see you soon, I meant to write, I think of you often,

How pleased he will be when I surprise him, with the cool barrel, when it arouses his neck, his temple. Its sight lowers to the silver zipper, its cold teeth clenched, closed to me

anxious for the hot kiss of lead, hollow points of fear and trembling.

I want to excite him, this way. His lonleiness lost, as the razor emerges from my sheath of curls, coffee-coloured, a hornet's nest and my wrists obscured by feathers. The long shining tail of the comet

that lights the sun in its orbit of ice.

There will be disarray, the inevitable blood I attend with bandages and stitches: it flows unstopped because my evening shoes are insensible, hard red alligator,

without comfort - in love there are certain contracts we are bound to honour.

I will open his eyes with the edge of my leather gloves and there, in the quiet white orbits, there is the moon, that crept between us, still, in its membrane of shadows,

the promises the night remembers and obeys.

-Lynn Crosbie-

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