the new virtue

 

i was dreaming, 

blade in the middle of—

you played in the middle of the night

            heart attack

            the guitar, your hurt voice

            like two ghosts in the other room.

my pulse kicked at thin walls, then

forgave you: natural forbearance

of an ancillary audience.

 

i couldn't see a thing, but when i

remember it now, i see you,

silhouetted in every shade of midnight.

the truth is i didn't go in.

i listened, i compared the darkness 

of the room to the one

behind my eyes.

 

after someone else's words failed you,

and i failed you,

and you felt an iron bar pressed

across your collar bone 

so it would break you to stand,

did that youthful sorcery lash out at

long last? did you spend 

a moment believing in something?

 

you can't hide it in water, shower baptist, 

(pretend they're tears, devout nakedness) 

you can't drown it. you can't wait it out.

 

not to be outdone, though, and never ones 

to forsake a reminder, we spend long

hours lying awake like this, in keenest,

most humble empathy.

 

 

____________________________

 

i couldn't tell you

 

what it is i like so much about your laugh

except maybe it reminds me of a version

of you i will never see firsthand, the boy-you,

the years when you were still ok with mystery

in the universe, a time that predates obsessive

 

returns to the bleak landscape of forging meaning

in a purposeless place—look, a world rests on

the crinkled pink lipstick print of a tea-filled

coffee mug, chipped and green and long cold—

and there is such unfortunate solace in how

 

thoroughly eclipsed you are by an empty chair.

when there is no one left lacking insight,

and you are lying away one spring night,

the first time a woman raked her fingernails

across the bony, pale expanse of your chest

will come fluttering back, and before you

 

have time to measure what it means,

you'll feel the heat from your hand

where it has come to rest over your heart.

 

 

Alexandra Cannon

 

Bio:  Alexandra is originally from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (US), and holds a BA in English with a creative writing concentration from Albertus Magnus College, New Haven. Currently she is earning an MA in creative writing in London. Her work has previously appeared in Speck Literary JournalAutumn Sky PoetryThe Shine Journal, and Albertus Magnus College's Breakwater,and is forthcoming in the Bedford Square: 7 anthology (Wood Ward Publishing, London, UK).