The sound of children calling out

On the sidewalk down below

In a rhythm that echoed like

A song but felt like

Shadows twisting through

Wind blown leaves:

Chaos filled the room

Like a ghost

That left its tomb.



A breeze tousled the curtains

And the ends of her hair

Brushing against the space at her neck

Where his lips used to touch

And sink all the way in

On lazy days

Like this:

When the breeze blew gently

And the children played.



But that was yesterday.



There was a lot she had to say

Before she could get to

The truth:

The truth that was always there

But hidden away

Behind expectations and hopes

And a low, buzzing sound

Like that which trickles

From electric chairs.



First she needed to pull

From the inside

The parts that were painted on

Colorful creations of

Imagination and

The way she hoped it would be

Before she knew that her hope

Was a slave to reality

Because it was chained to a lie.



She took the canvas off the wall

Of her heart and looked at it

A while

She wondered at the shades

And the shapes and

The ways in which her mind

Coalesced them into one:

From many parts

A whole.



The sum appeared like a game

Connecting dots

Not meant to touch—

And she felt a sort of rush

A blush, red and soft

Pale and hot—

Push through the back of her cheeks

And sprawl

Like a cat on its back.



And a cell phone rang

On the street below—

“Hallo!” said a man

Who spoke a language

She did not know

But his voice filled the room

Like a stranger or a friend—

Like a distraction

As the sun grew dim.



Second she needed to push

Back the time

Rewind to the moments

Before the storm

When the clouds rolled by

Instead of vomiting

Raindrops and sighs—

Before she knew what it was

To need.



She traveled there—

To the past—

And she sat before it

Like a screen on a wall

Watching the choices

Hearing the voices

She shook her head and

Noted the dread

As the film began to near the end.



Her foot reached through the screen,

She stepped into the past to look

Like a stranger

Traveling through

But all the players knew

Who she was

Why she came

And what she had to do—

And she did it.



“I love you,” he said

But she could not hear him—

The visitor from the future

Covered her ears and

Hummed a sunken, soulful tune

As He continued to speak

Like a leak dripping

From a sink

Slow and steady, constant.



He said it once more

A little louder than before

But the visitor begged

Herself not to hear

And she wrestled with the moment

And did all that she could

To capture her own attention

And lead her gently down

A different path:

Away from the spark

That lit the fire

Which burned too bright

Like a fuse

Or a noose

That strangled her

With compassion

And then passion and then

The truth.



And a garbage truck rattled through

Below and out of her view—

The rumbling of the engine,

The glass bottles crashing down

Saved her loneliness

With sound

Like a life preserver

To which she clung

And cuddled like a doll.



Third she needed to say—

Now in the present once more—

The words

That erased the first,

To bend her hello to goodbye

And the buzzing from before

Filled her soul,

Which felt better than tears,

Because anger is easier than pain.



She let him know

She let him go,

With all her plans on the floor—

The shapes and the colors

The words that he uttered

Still ringing in her ear

And a fear that

There was never enough

To bridge the space

Between her heart and his.



And the sun dipped all the way down

It fell to the ground

Like a puddle it cascaded

Through gutters and it flowed

Away from the moment

Down to the sea

Where memories and colors and chaos

Go to be free.


copyright Jill Szoo Wilson

(Photo credit: Contemporary Romanian painter Adrian GhenieAdrian Ghenie at Nicodim Gallery.  Ghenie currently lives and works in Cluj, Romania and in Berlin, Germany.)