By Allison Albino
At last alone, she sinks into
the leather chair, rests her head
on her palm. Yawns, reaches
for the jug of wine, shakes it.
There’s at least a glass left.
Luxuriously, she takes a swig.
On the table is an abandoned
plum. She bites in, lets the juice
run down the sides of her mouth,
slurps sweet, wipes her mouth
with the tablecloth she will later
wash. The late afternoon sun
lullabies her. No need to shut
the door. There was a man
at that door, watching from the next
room, hearing her bite into flesh,
yawn, gulp, burp even, envious
of the light on her cheek. Vermeer
erased him and his dog, left her in peace,
left the space between her solitude
and the door, his absence still a presence
like most lost loves who wind whisper
between this room and the next.
My father could feel my mother’s
foot touch his, under the blanket,
weeks after she died, a visit
he didn’t seem to mind
but that kept me up for months
waiting for my turn — a secret
knock, a phone call with no one
at the other end, a note, a something.
I couldn’t help but nod off,
and I’d dream that the trees spoke,
the moon had eyes, all the coded
prayers in old shoeboxes, their trail
at my door, breathing, waiting, watching,
dog, cats, mother, lover,
murmuring: it’s okay to let go.
It’s okay to let go.