Waltzing Matilda (for TW*)

[*to be read listening to ‘Tom Traubert’s Blues (Four Sheets to the Wind in Copenhagen)’**]

The morning click of the doorknob as you return from the shower; the muffled whoosh of moccasins on my front porch; the itchy screen door you scrape with car keys; nodding furious your soft, earnest forehead, to follow where you’re going--that’s what I need to make it through another day. But I couldn’t jump as high as you; I wish I could've, but oh the things you can do and I just can’t, and I’m sorry dear; I never did. You didn’t ever stop trying though, with your platinum gold smile and growling raspberry tenderness, until your giant spirit fluttered off into the whirling pea-green river… And before we met, the first hello, the first time, I already knew your name; you took my fingers in hand and squeezed my calluses, asking ‘how did these get here?’ and I just shook my head and grinned and your eyes were so big, and you looked in mine and whispered your secret; time was running out. Now I’m losing my voice every night, with Tom W howling beside me, and I wonder--why won’t sad Lady Matilda dance with her man? Why won’t she waltz with him? Was I afraid of sliding across the wooden ballroom with you, sparkle spin and we spun, out of control we were. I was an amputated sailor once, but you took me by the arm, and I was weak when you led me up that hill; I was starving but you didn’t let me fall down, you never let me fall asleep, even in the cloudburst. But on Good Friday, you left--you left town nonetheless, you left me and now I pace back and forth in my bedroom, pummelling my forehead with fists, knocking myself out in the closets, digging for at least one of your tattered shirts, because I need a piece of something to hold on to, and I bet you come back someday still, because I have something you own. My heart my heart--but my heart is so big and some days it spills all outside, and there is never enough kleenex. And you said you’d remember everything I once told you; you said you’d never let me sit alone in those tired blank spaces, but the footsteps I’m hearing are just foghorn echoes of passing ships, and that night-sky supernova, those feathers, remind me of beach sand and the boardwalks--and hey, remember that time I let you cut my hair, and when I looked in the mirror we burst out laughing? What a disaster we two. But you promised to keep the sofa-bed free whenever I needed to lay my head, and today, boy do I need somebody’s Somewhere to crash--and do you ever wonder, how we’ll look when we’re old? You'd be more stunning than now even; you have those black eyelashes and dimple on one side. And I never say goodbye, because you can’t leave me, and if you leave I won’t forget it ever. It was blinding, how you rushed inside and took me, but just as blinding you brushed past… and do you ever find what it is you’re looking for? Answer me, please I am begging, you--fucking... answer me--say something... I remember, Saturday night was holy when we were together; that kind of waltzing was the only kind: we two spinning madness in my front hallway, back porch, my face flush in the middle of winter, in the upside down world you took me through, your silver horses and magic powers, your morning-after promises. So to get me through today I’m always falling on my knees; I worship those memories and I want to bury myself inside them, naked, dancing in your arms and shivering.

[**'cause that's how it was written]

1 comment:

Wanderlust Scarlett said...

I know this waltz... I've danced it before. But the shoes pinched, so I had to take them off and run barefoot into the darkness where I fell on my knees and wept till I could not move.

Had to print this one... to keep... to touch, when the ache in my heart bleeds beyond it's capacity.

Thank you.