The Transformation of Longing
Tracing the hardened ink of the dragon
tattooed on the inside of your bicep
gave him goosebumps. Was it simply
a case of being turned on or was it something
less evidential and more private, the question
he knew was one that if left unanswered
could simultaneously haunt and delight. So he let it be
to prolong the pleasure uncertainty can be
for a while. And for a while too, the state
of play felt sacred : the room temperature, the trepidation
in the vitals, the fluid confidence born
of shared fears—that holy water which sometimes dwells
as air between enthralled bodies. When you went to work
leaving him in a solitude he wasn’t used to, he drank
lots of tea, screamed profanities into bathroom walls, wrote
paragraphs he hoped would eventually come together
as stories. He found it difficult to be generous
when he was competitive, easier to be competitive
when alone. Inside your sweatshirt, he found room
for more. Mischief, hair, monsoons, candy—the circumstances
like a cool sunny day, made it difficult
to be miserable. A bounty presented itself
when he least expected it, but he could never find
the shortest possible distance
to least expectation. Sometimes at the end of your kisses, he recited
in his head Jean Valentine’s words: blessed are they who remember
that what they now have they once longed for. On nights he sulked,
you read his poems to him after dinner. Such readings
were mostly topped off with ice cream. Who’s to say
what was sweeter? He loved sulking therefore. Eight plus eight
make sixteen hours. He has lunch at 4 pm these days. In a different
continent, you have dinner at the same time. Time zones are
beautiful. Social constructs sure, but they evidence
distance, the span of oceans. Once when he is sick,
the pill under his tongue disintegrates at the snapping
of your wrists in an exquisite conference room.
He swishes a colorless asterisk inside his mouth.
You launch into a soliloquy to impress your client.
He wakes up feeling better. You go to bed.
Eyes and ears revel in their own inner lives.