I can imagine the look on her face now
filled with fright as something clutches her
from somewhere out of nowhere, catching
in her throat, just as you enter her, the look
on your face printed in her eye. In there, in that eye,
you will see my face, my ghost, glaring back.

I am somewhere about, not fuming, merely
biding my time. I know I can get you back anytime,
with the smallest gesture of my finger – it is merely
a matter of exercising the will, an exercise
in self-indulgence, because after all, I never knew
what to do with you when I had you to myself.

Somewhere in the courtyard of my old house is the spurt where you
came behind the maple and I am sure something has grown there now,
has taken root, and I am sure if you saw it you would be sure too,
that that was probably the pinnacle of your whole life, knotting
helplessly with me, my hair brushing against
the stone of the step, wetting the arc of your back.

I am without, now, a neck; without, now, my arms.
You have tied them back – stretched out, voluptuous
against the trunk of our favourite spot, the one where you first
saw me in the halflight, or glimpsed my calligraphy
on a fan, in a neighbour’s house, on a jaunt, on a hunch, on a whim –
and decided to investigate the possibility.

Why did I ever think I could hide myself from cruelty,
from the cold, from emptiness, from the capricious hormonal affectations
of some gorgeous boy? I was a grown woman, a woman of substance,
shut in a tree the size of your soul, when you broke me out
and made me a new kind of banshee – O! how I screamed and screamed so –
And now, as then, you go and go, going at it with some new slut,
and here I am, haunting, stupidly, the avenue with the bloody maples.

My love, I have been waiting all my life to do this, to do you,
to do her in. There are too many people in this bloody picture,
don’t you think? You will have to eliminate one, or I will, my hands cold
as icicles on a winter’s night, on a night when my high-handed-
speech, my illiterate screech breaks and skitters like a thousand pearls
falling into a thousand broken bowls.


John Lee · September 26, 2017 at 12:50 pm

Dear Judith, Wow, what a powerful, meditative poem. For me, it is as good as the best of T S Eliot, Wallace Stevens , Elizabeth Bishop and Marianne Moore. Will continue to read and re-read your poems. Very good stuff in this poem. Best wishes, John Lee

    judithhuang · September 26, 2017 at 1:18 pm

    Dear John, thanks so much for your kind compliment. I am a huge fan of all those poets and it’s an honor to be compared to them. Thanks again!

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