“And he’s the rain that they predicted, it’s the forecast every time.”
– Marianne Faithfull
You almost convinced me that you weren’t beautiful. My memory at odds with your poorly lit selfies, claims of weight gain, acne, restless legs. We had one cinematic brief encounter, followed by tearful farewells in a perfect rain. Eight months later, we meet again on the tail end of a lightning storm. Watching your approach from the hotel lobby window – tailored black coat, not a hair out of place, taller than I remembered – I see people on the street stare, one over his shoulder, and I know that this second meeting will be a mistake.
You sidestep a public embrace, draw back uncertainly in the elevator, catch your reflection in the mirror. Maybe, for the first time, realize just how beautiful you are. Then we are alone in the room, naked on the bed. At least your kisses seem realistic, hungry from distance, but then we both say I love you, which is a lie, but part of the game as you pin and enter me, your fingers interlacing with mine as I bury my head in the pillow to spare the guests next door my empty pleasure. This long distance fantasy should have been left to midnight calls, pinging texts, our cries and whispers bouncing off towers and satellite relays, up in the clouds where our heads have been.
Later, I await the message that you’re home safely, but it never comes. It’s raining again in Manhattan, a lone rumble of thunder like a bell tolling underwater, and I find myself in that odd purgatory of mourning something that never was.
Collin Kelley is the author of the American Library Association-honored Render (Sibling Rivalry Press) and Better To Travel (Poetry Atlanta Press). He is also the author The Venus Trilogy of novels – Conquering Venus, Remain in Light and Leaving Paris (Sibling Rivalry Press). His poetry has appeared in journals and anthologies around the world. www.collinkelley.com