Tearing up snapshots to forget a handsome face
is what movie queens do. Elegantly.
But this woman, shredding 3 x 5s at the window all night,
doesn't feel grace.
And she remembers everything.
There are winter nights
when even the street sweeper seems thoughtful
under the falling rain.
And this woman, framed by white curtains
like a postage stamp
on a package, waiting to be delivered,
seems to release moths into the air.
Just erasing the pages of her diary
won't free her from history.
She imagines the pieces of paper float together
in some proper order, that her life can be solved
like a puzzle.
Like the crossword the handsome man used to sulk over
When she was still called "wife"
and lived with a smile in the window of his billfold.
She no longer studies squares of light
staring from other buildings. Nor pigeons
sleeping wing to wind beneath the eaves
painted a color she'd always hated.
She's about to turn away from the window with her hair in spikes,
to look into some camera and paste down a picture of that look.
Which says she's scared.
As humans tend to be when they feel something
flying from their fingers.