Two Poems by Virginia Aronson
In the tinkling spangle of glass
the world appears cleanly divided
into volunteers and voyeurs as I
watch you take on gravity
and, in your smoked diamond voice
you say, “I am not my own
complete story.” That makes me laugh
your salted nicotine chortle and then
there’s what the mirror reports,
what the mirror says back is:
Look! Look at me, me, me…
It’s the difference between surface
and reflection, clearly, You see?
At some point in must pay off
my debt to the quiet lake, the moon
and the incoming tide. Not now.
Now I stare at you, the other
out there on the crowded street
of yourself, outside your body exhibiting
something to the world. I envy you
your commitment to the earth’s laws
of science, laws I don not uphold
here in the empty bar glass
where I float like melted ice
in a half-gallon of cheap gin
like nothing in nothing at all.
The moon perches on the ficus hedge
waiting to jump to its death,
The usual order of things shifting
into a new, more dangerous phase.
He says it’s fate
a life set in stone
you can’t change
who you were
meant to be.
My mind needs some other place
to go hide in the shadow of something
no longer there. A blackness
the empty cupboard of my head
lightly strewn crumbs, nothing solid
to hold onto and I talk louder
to myself since he took all my words
with him when he left
stranded in the middle of a yawning
silence where I watch others’ mouths
moving, soundless and mouthing
the truth I can hear in my head:
we are on the sharp edge
of another kind of chaos.
he said this: “Be a rock.”
I am paper. I am scissors.