My Former Muse
Last night the weedy red hair of my former muse descended to veil from me the decent rooms, the decent wife, the decent town, and numb me into visions or versions of what might have been. Lying in a pasture in Vermont while the October wind opened our pores and looked in, we stroked each other raw. Perfect weather for the disaffected, the Taconics on their toes, every wrinkle brazen, every tree brisk and complex. She asked me to stay and find some menial job as bartender, perhaps, or bus boy in the restaurant where she waitressed, her hair knotted, her uniform too short to cover her sunburned thighs. I couldn't solve our lives so quickly. The soughing of the Battenkill below us sparked a language more inspired than mine. Trout leapt freely at the close of their long heartless season. Last night she returned to make up, but the silence has deepened and her red hair's going gray. Her children must be grown. Perhaps she married someone braver than me, perhaps she lives alone in that serene lack of motion that reminded me of sunning reptiles, her awkward features relaxed, her meatless scarred legs folded under her, every detail fixed in repose as she waits for me to abandon my worn old ego and with free will enter her own.