SKELETONS:  1000 WORDS POSTED/WINTER  2002                                                                                                       ISSUE 4

The moon is early in the fourth quarter
Approaching zenith, it is bright.
Beneath it floats a high overcast
Which blends and mellows the moonlight 
Until it falls like a gentle mist
On the stillness of the backyard.

The cat is sitting motionless
At the far edge of the patio,
Its back toward me as it looks 
Outward into the autumn night.
It sits there very still as it looks away.

The mist of falling light coats the objects in the yard
With a fine film, a satin sheen of visibility:
The surfaces and outer edges shimmer
And the rest is shadow.

The only other light out there
Is the RED glow from the tip of her cigarette.
Dull RED as it rests in her hand on the arm of the chair
Then brighter as it makes an arc to her mouth,
A few seconds very bright 
As she fills her mouth with smoke,
Another arc back to its resting place.

When she exhales, the smoke 
Is less than a ghost in the air.
The RED glow arcs and pulses as the minutes pass.

I asked her not to take up smoking, 
But she insisted and I relented,
And the smoke has killed the sweetness of her breath
And decayed the passion of our kisses.

She drops the last bit of the cigarette to the ground,
Grinds it under the toe of her sandal,
And pulling the afghan tight around her
Leans back into the chair.

She lays her head back.
She closes her eyes.
She shakes the hair off her shoulders
And orients her upturned face toward the moon
In much the same way a sun worshipper 
Would greet the morning.

More minutes pass. 
The moon drifts.
The Cat sits motionless in the drifting light.
I drift.

The sudden flare of the match startles me.
Another cigarette.
She will use it up and crush it.

If I were a measuring person,
I could gauge the rate
That the distance between us was increasing
By counting the mangled bits
Of tobacco filled paper in the ashtrays each night.

But I am not a measuring person,
So I quietly move my chair back far enough
That I cannot see the dancing RED spark.

The cat is sitting motionless in the drifting light
Of the haze bedazzled final quarter of the moon:
Its back toward me as it looks
Outward into the early autumn night.
It sits there very still as it looks away.


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