S. E. VENART: THE FALLING ACTION
S. E. Venart
THE FALLING ACTION
She was sixty-nine or was she seventy? Some people said a ripe old age.
It’s said that if the young learn that they are dying, they become holy. I suppose
it’s their face. It is said, anyway. Above the barn sink, the glass held the reflection
of a barn cat leaping for a barn swallow. I saw it go down, slapping my wet hands and seething: Shit! Well, that’s over. I looked everywhere for meaning: in her soft-tissued pyjamas,
in her perhaps-holy face. I read poems to her that were little stories: man walks into autumn
beach town, is a skunk, finds a skunk, the end. I made lemon custard.
I set spoons on the two-by-four table. This is my gold-packed love. I pushed in her puritan bench. The other side of the window bloomed lilac— I can’t say what I want that to mean—
she was already above me, outside me, beyond me? Still I brought a bowl to her table.
Each spoonful she spat into the napkin, her face lit with adoration for that later-place.
She made a device of folding her napkin into smaller squares, hiding my love without looking.
But who can talk about what you will miss every minute? We turned toward signs painted Peaches, I recited. Once she looked up and said, I’ll miss that face —
Oh, how I hoped. I kept combing the moment. It was said. I return to it.
Falling action, floodlit. Anything could happen. Nothing fixed in place yet—.