In the middle of a dream of frogs, couches and perpetually-expanding voids, I pull a sack of paper out from under my bed. This is all the poetry I’ve ever written about all the people I have ever loved. Rickety toy buses, a marginalia-ed book, a withered flower in a plastic bottle – all floating in disarray amongst black ink. I am Matilda, pages flying around me as if I’m the hurricane, (and not you, not you). Buses drive into garage 1, Heathcliff tumbles down a hill into the next, and a lone gerbera turns its petals towards the third glow of the abyssopelagic.
Three letters emboss themselves into the faces of these cubic forms. They, too, mime the set of Matilda – mere props to a musical they never knew they were part of. This is the first time I realise that I have never loved a person with a vowel as the start of a name. (and I’ve always memorised you by the way that consonant felt against my lips, never my tongue.) Now by the twitch of a finger, you bloom into sanguine hopscotch, a route forged in glow-in-the-dark fabric paint, aflame. Here, there is a scorching dance for bare feet to retrace.
Here I loved you as an expectation, (will I always?)
and here I loved you as an invention, (will I? always?)
and here I loved you as a memory. (will? I? always?)
And here I am, with stacks of poetry compartmentalised into tiles, laid out on the wall like irrefragable, moribund pictures variegating the mosaics of Tuol Sleng. Perhaps one might think me insensitive, unethical even, for this dictatorial segregation. Still, I store you in boxes under my bed, and close my eyes again.
What does it matter? None of you ever knew I loved you, anyway.