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R u m m y   P a r k

b y   R e b e c c a   L u   K i e r n a n

31.  Combat Psychology

He reaches for my face
Through the blur of three martinis.
Is there anything not made of
Neon and shadow in this room?

He is a fighter pilot
With the kindest eyes
I have ever undressed for.
Nothing dark
(At my hands)
In this man
Who has killed and will kill again.

I know things I never imagined in my old life,
Escape velocity is 6.96 miles per second,
How to convert light years to miles,
Navigation by the stars.

My fingers in his wavy black hair,
He is awash with calm.
We whisper to each other over violin music
As the names of safe cities are called out
On the way to the target.

I know things about combat psychology
I wish I could forget.
The reluctance of Western civilization
To stab with a knife,
Not because of an aversion to violence,
But because it is too personal,
And mimics the penetration of sex.

He kisses my forehead
Like Jesus will.
I take a mental picture, these pale green eyes,
The smile that sets the room ablaze,
The way he bows his head, as if in prayer,
Leaning down to catch every morsel of my words,
Closing his eyes through the
Razory wreckage of my language,
Sifting through to detect what's missing.
How long do I have till he knows?

He looks up to the stained glass sky light,
Letting go of one world,
Embracing the other.
He rakes my hair behind my ears,
Moved in on the trajectory of a faint whisper.
My chafed nipples stand erect
When I feel his breath on me,
Anticipating the long stretch
In his masterful lips.

I blink and we are in the marigold bed.
I deep-throat him out of spite,
Gently robbery of the old lover.
He turns me upside-down and backwards,
All spread out with the lights on,
Makes me come on his face.
Then, when he is inside me,
He says that thing I cannot hear
And asks what I will do while he is gone,
And what will I do if he doesn't return.

Answer is the same for each.
I'll be on a ship he's never seen
Diving into the otherworld I keep
In case the day erases,
In case the hands in my life
No longer have faces.
I close my eyes on the rhythm of his words.
I smell the clouds of the final day.
I call out the names of safe cities.
Mine is not one of them.

He rises from the wet tangle of sheets,
His long limbs casting slow motion shadows
Between an abandoned Earth
And the forgotten curse of moon,
Beyond the laughter of the stars.
He reaches for my hand.
We dance, perhaps for the last time.
The tick of the clock
Makes me want to scream.

There are things much worse than death
That could come between us,
And if I were to confess to loving him,
It would simply be
Because these ambivalences
And street-level slurs
Are to him, unfathomable.

I touch the magician's sleeve
Who taught me how to disappear.
I muzzle the wolf's mouth with a kiss.
I squeeze the gray fingers of the ghost who taught me
I am made of such beautiful light
That I can pass through anything,
Even, perhaps this night.

poetry & photos © 2006 Rebecca Lu Kiernan

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