The clock chimes three in the morning; streetlights, lining the cobbled street, glow incandescent yellow. In fog, this autumn feels more like a painting than a season. Something caught in an everlasting hour between stumble and stairway. I think I hear footsteps; yet, I know I’m alone. When I stop and look into the printmaker’s window, I see my eyes in the clock’s face staring back at me. I could be anywhere else, but I am stuck here.
I think it’s getting cold. My breath becomes two clouds disappearing on glass, but it doesn’t startle me. One hand on the storefront’s brick ledge gives me balance. I search his display for the vanity table with its thin vials of perfume and an iridescent abalone shell that holds a loose string of pearls. Everything is as I left it. There’s a thick drip waiting to fall from the espresso machine. He still hasn’t washed the two demitasse cups left in the sink. What is he waiting for? These incidentals, ignored in daylight, leave a dark mess.
Qu’est-ce que? My mind seesaws: What to do, do I do what I want to do? Are we two gray mice who have fallen into the bucket of cream? Am I the one who drowned, or the one who paddled hard all night, churning cream until there was a pat of butter to rest upon? A woman must learn to save herself, he said, turning his back to me.
C’est Musée de L’Ordinaire. How does one stand out as evidence among ruin? He said he wanted to love me for a long time. He knelt before me, pressing his rough face against my thin chest. His tears soaked my cotton dress. When he lifted his head to look up at me, the gold cross hanging around my neck grazed his lips. He smiled slightly, knowing he had me under his spell. He told me he was going to keep me for eternity.
I wish I could yawn. If you’re looking for me, I‘m here, pressed under glass.
M.J. Iuppa lives on Red Rooster Farm near the shores of Lake Ontario. Most recent poems, lyric essays and fictions have appeared in the following journals: Poppy Road Review, Black Poppy Review, Digging to the Roots, 2015 Calendar, Ealain, Poetry Pacific Review, Grey Sparrow Press: Snow Jewel Anthology, 100 Word Story, Avocet, Eunoia Review, Festival Writer, Silver Birch Press: Where I Live Anthology, Turtle Island Quarterly, Wild Quarterly, Boyne Berries Magazine (Ireland), The Lake, (U.K.), Punchnel’s; forthcoming in Camroc Review, Tar River Poetry, Corvus Review, Clementine Poetry, Postcard Poetry & Prose, among others. She is the Writer-in-Residence and Director of the Visual and Performing Arts Minor Program at St. John Fisher College. You can follow her musings on art, writing and sustainability on mjiuppa.blogspot.