Trifles light as air are to the jealous confirmations strong as proofs of holy writ—Othello (Act 3 Scene 3)
Thirsty for her history, he drinks from the poison
well, gulps up names, dates, sexual acts, lengths
of relationships. An atlas of her lust hurtles
through time and space at the speed of frantic
blood. Most insulting, he didn’t exist for her
back then. She had dared to live without him.
Like a koan out of hell, her past is so out of reach
that it blazes in his gut, itches his brain, enslaves
his spirit. He rages the way a child rages after
ripping open an empty box, for her past is not
a gift. Her past is a torment, her memories not his.
But now they lodge in his mind like a rusty tack.
Sometimes at night when he can’t sleep, he gazes
at the head on the pillow next to him, that golden,
octi-locked dome where more memories dwell,
encoded beyond reach. He considers a ball-peen
hammer, golf club, surgeon’s saw, power drill.
Instead, he tries to breathe, to sleep, perchance to
steal her dreams. At dawn the fever breaks, but the
thirst remains. And so he asks for more. And even
when she says there is no more, he asks for more.
Mary Wallach is a poet, writer, teacher and psychotherapist in New York City. Her poetry has been published in The Mississippi Review, Cider Press Review, Triplopia, Shangri-la Shack, The Road Not Taken and other journals. Her poem, “Why I Don’t Write Autobiographical Poems” was featured on Garrison Keillor’s The Writer’s Almanac radio show. Another poem, “A Reprimand from Shiva,” was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Mary enjoys giving readings of her work, as well as facilitating workshops on poetry and psychoanalysis, compassion fatigue and other topics.