Every Little Siberia
Nothing should be so expensive and so cold
when the heat bill arrived and you sat in the last month
of your lease, in your parkas and ski gloves, your knit
scarves and Russian hats. Years later, you would wonder,
if she meant the apartment or you, because death
makes you retrace the years between you, the fortune
of finding her at all, not lost on you, years after
you had both moved and moved on. Nothing again
would hold light as did her eyes during fights
or love. She was not so much a believer as a fanatic
not so much a recollector as a human-instamatic,
her memory of a thing spit back quickly and taking form
almost mystically, rising up from a black square
into the familiar shape of what it was she meant to hold.
The last night, someone told you, she held your severed
ponytail, kept for years in the small wooden drawer
at the base of the folk-lamp you bought her
at the fleamarket, she held the empty bottle of brandy
but not the prescription pills she washed down with it.
They said she wore the brocade jacket with onyx buttons,
and the fabric takes you back to the old place,
freshly-showered: remember her there,
her wet hair: tentacles holding ice-picks.
Her look at you across the bay,
the day, like something that could only reflect up
from water or hell. After the news, nothing will wash
it off: the picture of winter, your words holding
phantoms of themselves against the frosty morning
the light othertimes golden but chilled-platinum
where she stood, where she could have been nothing
less than happy to have met you, nothing more.