Thursday, October 4, 2012

The Key

This is a poem that reminds me much of One in a Million. Like the Mysterious Benedict Society, only those who seek will understand it's whole meaning. Clues, like keys, are left in this poem. You must find them all if you are to unlock this woman's heart.

The Key

In the lazy
Light, it dangles
From the man’s hand-
Tanned, speckled
With little hyperpigmentation stars-
Moving quickly, little
Excited movements.
The woman watches the key,
Curious, anticipating,
Then darts her eyes back
To the man’s face, quickly
As if she were afraid of missing
The boyish, thrilled expression
Written there on the strong cheekbones
And wide, golden brow.
“A house, where we both may live,”
The woman captures the words
And hides them in her soul.

The woman is disappointed.
She hides this in a bright smile
Thoughts confined behind her eyes.
What was she expecting?
Not a mansion, of course. Of course not.
A tidy, two-floor residence
On a staid suburban street
Would be fine. Would be welcomed.
What was she expecting? Not
A cottage. A shabby, weed-filled fixer-upper
Of course.

The man does not see
Does not notice
[Because who would want to?]
His fiancé’s reservations.
He takes her boisterously by the hand
And leads her into the house.

She doesn’t approve
Of the cracked windows,
The mildewed carpet, and
Filmy whitewashed walls.
She can’t imagine
What they could promise.
But as her fiancé walks
From room to room, abounding
In praise, images leap
From the whitewashed walls-
As if transcribed
From his mind to hers.
She sees the two of them chatting
In a bright and cheerful kitchen,
Their children playing
On a Persian carpet, a
Four-poster bed in the
Cobwebbed master bedroom.
Then they are out again,
But before the peeling door
And after her fiancé strides away
And down
She sneaks a last look in.
The walls are as empty and as cold
As when they first arrived.

Now the woman lifts
Her left hand, drearily
In front of her face.
From the ring finger dangles
A key, bronze
In the faint fluorescent light
Leaking from the next-door apartment.
She remembers, foggily
How it glinted when it was thrown
Forcefully, angrily
At her. Thunking against her chest,
Slicing her heart in two.

On a whim, on a desperate hope
The woman grabs the key,
Totters up from her unwashed sheets
Staggers out the door
Falls crookedly into her car
Grasps the steering wheel
With wobbling hands.

A corner, a stretch
Of blindsided time-
A turn, two turns,
The car parks before
A falling-down, weed-crowded
Fixer-upper cottage.
She runs, purposefully now
To the door, inserts the key
And turns it forcibly.
She steps tentative into the house,
Ghostly in the night.
She runs her hand along the wall,
But no images leap
From his mind to hers-
Her heart has been severed, disconnected
From his.
She is alone in the house,
Moonlight falling like tears
Upon her bowed shoulders.

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