Spirit in the Wood



Sketched by a flickering autumn fire,
A frameless, eight-by-ten charcoal portrait
Depicting parting flames arguing between thin lines
Over obscure boundaries and dirty games
Rips at the widower’s waning faith
In committed, institutionalized love,
Scatters his quaint thoughts in layers
Shallower than rust leaves shed by restless trees
That, unlike a platinum-set diamond ring,
Possess circles of nature’s secrets to infinity.

Instead of shredding dark gray memories
Of secondhand misery slithering
Against wind-blown, lush green symmetry —
Estranged lovers stumbling over words and gravel
Three feet ahead of his scuffed shoes
That shuffled worn-suede indigo blues,
Bickering beneath tittering birds over dusty bits
Destined to be, like their bones,
Pulverized into ash, a grisly sand
He rocks on his coccyx in shrouded optimism.

Tossing his stubby illustrator’s pencil,
He pretends it’s a log-in-miniature
Rolling with discarded muses in the fire,
And it sends half-dead embers sputtering
Like the feisty engine of his ’77 Honda Civic —
The red-hot one with a leopard-spotted backseat
Designed for muff diving and drive-in sex —
Which struggled decades of crying, pooping babies
And catered wedding anniversary parties later
To hold on when his wife’s heart and lungs could not.

From a distance, in the spare kitchen,
The usually silent telephone rings,
And he leans toward the loops in anticipation,
Breathing as if reborn a new man,
Or being fitted for an elegant new suit
An hour before cabbing across town
To reunite with a cherished friend
Dressed in her slimming black, strapless gown
For a five-course meal and foreplay’s zeal
Topped by popped and poured libation.

Having caught up on two lifetimes,
And, like a spring gale, turned a new leaf,
He kneels at the hearth, groveling to God,
Whose meaning he could not grasp
While drowning in mind-numbing grief.
Heat from crackling wood extends to wrinkled skin
As to his will does the long-awaited chance
To reclaim The One who had got away
A split second before his wife returned a week late
From a girlfriends’ men-bashing holiday.

His weathered visage glows in the firelight
As he realizes that his lonely plight
Has ended and his fickle fate is tied
With that of the two parkside lovers.
Withered lips warm to a wide smile
Despite crowns from failed dental wars —
The least of his disclosed flaws
For the rekindled blaze sketches
Upon his crinkled paper a spirited dance,
Orange halos on rescued smudges of romance.



© 2012-2015 Chantale Rêve
All Rights Reserved