BY ALEXANDRIA HALL
115 degrees in Rachel’s open studio in El Sereno. Motley
talismans dangle from their sculpted cement domes.
I’m married now. And so are others I once loved.
And as of last night, so is Kalyane, whom I just met
today, when she pulled up in her husband’s old Mercedes.
We toast with leftover Champagne in camping mugs.
She sits here, barefoot in record-setting heat
on the dusty floor of Rachel’s garage, framed by the coarse
cement arches that corroded Rachel’s fingers as she molded
calcined lime and clay into imperfect reaching structures,
hard mounds like gaping arms, pulled threads, a gateway
to where Kalyane sits smoking and explains that having lost
a bit of love, she could then enter into this new covenant
of unabstracted partnership, concrete, assumed impermanent.
Lately, the little loves have been returning to me. The ones
I would have stretched my whole self over, for whom I lay
in wait as if half-dead on the rocks, waiting to be gutted
and then picked apart by birds. Ugly, unrelenting. Summer,
for example. Twelve years ago. Town Beach parking lot.
A fire on the other side of the bay. Heat of his mouth
in the back of his Subaru. Or later, in Boston, a lit cigarette
standing in for a birthday candle. The material of my love
for them comes back to me now, while I’m walking the dog,
washing the dishes. View from the top of a grain silo.
Long drive up from the city for a couple PBRs and brief
though long-awaited sex with all the lights on at his dad’s,
before he asked me for a ride to town. My only shape
was of a tide, heaving. Naked thrill of nearing disappointment.
Rachel pours us ginger vodka, asks if anything feels different
now. I loved them. I know it now, having hardened. I know,
having, to some extent, become my reaching. Having found,
I think, a place from which to reach. To some extent, having.