Post-Operative Instructions « Back

For J.P.

Seduce me with letters written on parchment,
in sealed envelopes,
signed With Love.

Wake me with aromatic coffee
in a ceramic mug
black, sugar, strong with cream.

Comfort me with uninterrupted sleep,
not drugged like this after surgery,
but like at the beach.
Long, lazy, loving at daylight -
awakening golden

I like you in person - raw and present.
Not like this, on the phone.
But when I can smell, taste, touch tongue.
You. You.

They said,
Do not make important personal or
business decisions for 24 hours.
I love you.
I decided.
Do not drive or operate machinery.
I want you.
I drive.

I fly with you to Italy, Umbria,
see Piero dela Francesca.
Ice for 20 minutes every two hours.
Weight bearing as tolerated.
I bear your love.

You call, tell me that
you are painting your house
burnt sienna, berry, pretending Tuscany.

I think about painting my house. I
 look down at my toes
colored iodine and
red with the crusted blood.

You check on me.
I still love you.
I love your golden light,
your blue mountains.

I want to climb you like wisteria,
touch your dimples
with my thumbs.

On Sunday, you will go to the beach
 with your lover.
On Sunday, I will change bandages -
stand longer.
Orthopedic instructions.
They say not to turn my ankle.
I might not walk again.
Tear the stitches.

I say, don't tell.
I might wreck it.
Tear us apart.
I never speak of you.
You are secret.
The unspoken.
The private.
The held tight against my skin,
like scapula under clothing.

I taste you - musky red wine sun,
hot flesh in desert,
dust to fresh laundered shirts
adobe buildings,
blue doorways,
snake skin boots sun,
ginger and chili.

Red. Gold.
Quiet meetings in afternoons
and when traveling -
unaided, unguided, unrestrained.

You walk the beach.
Seagulls bathe,
waves crash,
you gather daisies,
red gladiolas,
arrange in the living room.
You carefully select red wine,
golden cheese,
windows facing west.

I try to straighten it out -
alphabetical order, color, size, shape,
walking from room to room
balancing carefully on my foot.

My solitude sits on a table
its surface inscribed
with stories of children
I will never know.

I heat up slowly
like yeast bread rising.
I take for granted
the palm tree of your affection.
The richness of your voice,
the soft hair of your back.

There is a constant motion on the beach.
Through small tender gestures
I recognize your mood.
You are gone
but your smell stays with me.

Weight bearing as tolerated.
I cannot bear the weight
of this unexpressed love
any longer.

I want a letter, coffee, a night where I sleep beside you,
a day where we see mountains,
smell sage and cilantro,
sit by the fire, golden, berry, blood.

Tell me again that when you can't sleep
you think of my beautiful ankle,
my delicate, tiny feet.