Edward Palmquist

The corn grew dense in the field behind my childhood home. Their rich leaves rustled as I brushed them aside. Where had you gone off to? I looked up at the sun that was then directly overhead.

Earlier that afternoon, I had waited anxiously for the doorbell to ring. Though my mother watched a few of the local children while their parents were busy, you were the only one that was my age. You had blond hair, cut short in a sort of sexless manner. I too once had golden hair, but over the years it darkened into “dirty blond” and finally settling into a rather generic brown with a few rare blond strands.

Sunlight brings a sour end
to a seemingly non-existent sleep.
I blindly reach out towards my bedside table
seeking my glasses
for what is life without clarity?
A blur.

Too numb to move
after a long day’s swim
I give myself up to the waves.
It’s so cold as I sink down
deeper into the water.

Grey flecks in your eyes
fragments carried by the wind
I try to catch them.

The wind seems so careless
as it disturbes the petals.
So fragile…

The grass is warm to the touch
yet it irritates our skin as if in reproach.
So naive…

Removing the old tarp
a beautiful oil painting long hidden away.
I’ve kept it safe for you.
The colors’ contrast is glaring
yet the differences are in perfect balance
like ours…

The windows are dimly lit as we walk by.
There’s a man reading alone in one
A couple watching a movie in another.
All of them seem warm, yet something is missing.

The tools we carry, axes and such
Are cold in our hands yet their precise designs
Represent accomplishment, innovation
And the long nights spent in toil to achieve such things.

The sound stirs me
and draws me to the window.
I pull open the curtains
and gaze out curiously
into the night.
Amidst the shadows,
her flesh stands out pale
in the moonlight.

How long have I been asleep?
Roughly three hours sir.
Where is my wife?
Dead, along with your two sons.
Did they die happy?
They were together if not happy.

High up on a hill
the one we used to climb
when we were children
I alone now sit.
Around me is a powder
too white to be sand
ashes that taste of bitter Septembers

The metal is cold against my skin
Above me, a light exposes
my flesh with ultraviolet scrutiny.
Around me, others are watching
their gaze unavoidable.

I saw you driving by yesterday.
Through the distortion of the window
it was difficult to make out your face.
Yet I knew it was yours all the same.
Your head was held high as if
you knew I was watching.

She’s dancing barefoot
over a sea of broken glass.
Nobody bothered to warn her
of the danger of sharp edges.
Her world is simpler,
one of satin and curves.

Gentle waves teased the shore.
Street lamps glowed
pale in the distance.
There were people walking
along the other side of the river
“Ignore them,” you said.

Last night’s dream…
I saw a young girl
sitting alone on a grassy overhang.
She looked out
at the sprawling cityscape that lay before her.

So where are you…?
It started raining a few minutes ago
and foolish me forgot my umbrella.
I’ve always loved the scent of rain
the fragrance of purity and another chance.

Go away!
She screams as the crowd draws closer.
Her son is on the ground
bloody and weak.
What is wrong with you people?
Cradling his head, she weeps into the front of his shirt.

Quiet… they might hear.
Who me? I’m hiding.
See those people
the ones in white?
They want to take me back.
I can’t go back
you must understand.

Pressed up against the glass,
I can see you on the other side.
Your smiling face ignorant
of the things you take for granted.
There are others there beside you
faces I try not to recognize.

The cruel silence
your gaze diverted as you held back tears.
An apology stuck hard in my throat,
courage that refused to take form.

It’s 11pm
and I can’t sleep.
If only tonight was last night.
Our time together is rare
and this loneliness banal.
If only I could still feel you here.