for rachel

1. My position is fixed, static as a marble statue, my ankles chained to the same table, under the awnings, as it rains. I wait at the pub and watch the crowds pass. Reading, smoking, scribbling notes. Crowds coming and going eternally. Owning nothing but my book, my pen, and my endless cup, I observe their movements, my feet fusing to the concrete. Everyone has somewhere to be. Everyone is moving, is fleeting, is transient. They are blown together, they are torn apart. They are carried out to sea. Without pressing business, or appointments, I merely watch them, and calculate, from my table.

2. Every now and then you hover by. Your sharp, clear eyes against the heat of the marquee. Your slight figure, your still, golden hair. How it has whitened over the years. Thinner than we once were, grown quieter under our respective burdens, remember each other as lovers, as melancholic children. We discuss issues of governance, of human rights, art, religion, anything but the way it feels to be together again at our cold table.

3. I am always glad to see you. You ask politely, if you can join me, as though it were ever a question. You pull up a stool and study me, sadly, twisting your hair into tiny knots and unpack your troubles, one by one, which I polish for you, with my tears, and wrap them in pages torn from my book, stacking them in the little bag you are so proud of.

4. There is a question, beneath your questions, which remains unspoken. I am glad to listen, and to watch you, to pour for you from my endless cup, and you drink a little, and become glad. For an evening I pretend we are married, pretend your feet too are chained, even though the winds will take you, which gave you, grim directors of this sad ballet revolving around me, at my post, at the pub, where one day I will remain as stone, reaching out to you across the table.


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C.R.Stanger
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