“But if I lose you, what have I left to hope for? Why continue on life’s pilgrimage, for which I have no support but you, and none in you save the knowledge that you are alive, now that I am forbidden all other pleasures in you and denied even the joy of your presence which from time to time could restore me to myself?”
~Letter to Abelard from Heloise
In the Meantime, Together
Guardrails border the cliff from the abyss, so too,
my love, this house and all these domestic things.
Photos of us; elation in graduation,
a wedding, a bris.
The coffee, my sage-grey mug.
Your hand orbiting the key; a conjurer
warming my November mornings, faithfully.
Where is the validation of this anodyne spot?
The feather blowing by the back door,
your aunt’s beanbag snake guarding against drafts?
The westerns on your nightstand the medieval tales by mine?
The marriage license?
I grapple with the hereafter.
You console me with natural selection,
tell me stories of a bird suited seamlessly for his love song
his avian bride and the seed he carries to their love nest.
The immensity we call life span, you and I
in staggering wedded collusion
warm as March sun through the passenger window,
or the worn carpet-
a Sunday afternoon, all day, erratic love making
you in your hat, me in my pajama top.
In our buzz and whirl we are
not the monk and his silence
the apostles looking to the sky
ascetics starving for nirvana.
Darling, We are not Abelard and Heloise.
We are a perfect hymn of flaws and detritus
poppy seeds in your teeth,
the door waiting repair
the wrong turns, and their mythical grist.
You are not a scholar and I am not a nun.
The shade of boulders that fall on our happy road,
momentary manna, they alert my eyes to the now
the sacred now, sharing it I feel for the knot
on your neck no need of astrolabe or glancing
I stroke until your eyelids are too languid to drive.
This laundry life, unspoken,
this thrust and receipt,
shatter and sweep, break and open,
grind and shudder
distraction deep as a laudanum lull
from our parting when-
the guard rail finally fails us, and we
are alone again.
Irregular Orbits You and I
“Life is an unfoldment, and the further we travel the more truth we can comprehend. To understand the things that are at our door is the best preparation for understanding those that lie beyond.”
I’ve got your limb in my branches
Must have got wedged there last storm
Foreign bodies floating freefall
Within this sutured wound
I might not like the interruption
But connection persists forced or not
History film unreels, plays, snaps, rewinds
Looking to turn their thugs into martyrs
They branded her a witch. Hypatia
Murdered by mob; words and body burned
Stripped of scholar’s robes and even her flesh
Street fights rewritten for political postures
Whose side were you on?
Your crime is
Washed by indictment of hysteria. Mine
….circle ‘round the old oak tree—play, snap, rewind
Foil and fumble I can’t open
These chocolate kisses fast enough
The dark silk of comfort grit and melt
My troubled tongue waits: ecstasy and guilt
Astrolabe and conical structures
Afloat in my mind the galaxy is pulsing with connections
Passion may parade as wrath and vice versa
Like pit bulls in the ring the snarl may snag
but it’s the mortal bite that lasts
Odysseus in the trees
So what if I pulled over
in a fast crush of gravel, dervish of dust
gathering on a hot metallic hood?
There in the trembling coins of gilt aspen
would I find you?
The lover that brings chocolate for the back of my knees
The one who fills every auricle
with a frenetic frequency, rush of hum,
the perfect warble and link, sigh and release
palms sliding on curve and swollen ridges
that even hail can’t touch
can’t make quiver and shudder cease
I drive alone
The ache of white bark
Claw scratch and seduction of transcendence,
you and what I imagine you to be
tempts in a tilt-a wheel swerve
San Juan siren call, that’s all
Unless lashed to the steering wheel
I’ll never find home
what lies behind my road bleary eyes
A sun filtered map to the island of regret
Kierstin Bridger lives in the San Juan Mountains of Southeast Colorado. Thrush Poetry Journal will be publishing her poetry piece called “Boundary Breech” in the May 2012 issue. She is the 2011 winner of the Mark Fischer Poetry Prize.
Kierstin’s work, including, flash fiction and Haiku, can be found online at Nail Polish Stories, a tiny and colorful literary journal, Broadsided Press, Telluride Inside and Out, The Telluride Watch, and Smith Magazine 6 Words about Work. Her short story “Condomnation” was published in the 2011 issue of the Porter Gulch Review, her one act play Ruminations in the Median featured in The University of Washington’s literary publication Bricolage. Her short story “Girl’s Room” was printed in UW Women’s Voices. Her micro-fiction piece that must remain anonymous until 2013 was recently published in Stripped: A Collection of Anonymous Flash Fiction from PS Books, a division of Philadelphia Stories.