“It is impossible to say just what I mean!
But as if a magic lantern threw the nerves in patterns on a screen:
Would it have been worth while…”
—T.S. Eliot, “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”
Two shadows. Biting thoughts. The air solid
between them. Then fingertips found my face,
your selfless act of speaking words you said
in sentence later. You made me breathe pallid
doubts out loud. I made you use your mouth; taste
the shadowed, biting thoughts, the air, solid,
weighted in me. My misprision mounted,
we rolled our pleasure ball uphill. You paced
yourself, less the act of speaking words we said
should void their meanings in these repeated
phrases. But soon this waiting would erase
my shadow, bitten by thoughts. The air was solid
and settled over me. I choked, surrounded
by my need for another’s stiff embrace:
your selfish act. We spoke of words. Said
we’d overcome them, learn an other, hid
beneath. Slipped our hands below clothed surface.
One shadow. Biting. Thoughts of air. Solid,
selfish in the act, unspeaking words instead.
Heather Judy is a creative writer and artist from Sacramento, California. Her poems have been published in The California Quarterly, The Tule Review, and Flatmancrooked’s Thin Volume of Contemporary Poetics, among others. She is currently working on mixing painting with poetic memoir.