BY LINDA MASTRANGELO
She mourns his other half,
sits silent over the steel chair
and waits for her morning
eggs. The draft from an open window
drifts in from Kingston Street,
where she walks to work in paper
heels, dragging an orange coat
with missing buttons. It was his coat.
Not the one found tattered in
rail wire and gum. The howl
of the train imbedded in the woolen
threads, if you listen close.
Or a scream of someone laughing.
He has half a name, half a story.
A half an hour between train whistles,
heading downtown to Queensboro Plaza.
He is spinning, the water in his heart
leaking dirt and wine, the ghost of his
right half teasing air. The feminine half,
that could deal with pain and humility.
Or the other, that has lost
the physical wholeness which breaks things
to hold them. He draws a cracked shade
and decides to sleep until dark.
In bed, she dreams of them, sewing bodies
with steel needles. Thread made of blue veins,
pale like old oysters, not glutted
with blood that thickens in heat. She is
sewing the skin, her right half to his left with blue
fingers piercing like herons. He is sewing
her skin, with no eyes, no hair. He is faster,
more desperate, because a train is approaching,
crouching from its speed.
She awakens and only remembers
the pushing hands, no faces,
that hit into the track
of current and wood, waiting
to be flattened like a copper penny
she put on the rails as a child in
Tipperary. The face of the queen,
dissolves in smoothness, or like
the bottom of her father's ale mug,
lifted up to take his last swallow
of birch before bedtime. She wakens before
this, gasping for water. She hides this secret
like dirty hair and puts it in a cap.
He is alone again, among dead faces from photos,
a reef of headstones. He no longer
sees her in them. They no longer bathe
together or go fishing for sharks. He no longer
wants her, or cares for her smell in his nightshirt.
He only wishes he had seen his other half, waving
from the train tracks, like a lost friend,
not a spinning mass of flesh,
chewing at the air, coughing up coal dust
of forgotten animals.