game of you

looking at your photographs, smiling family portraits declaring a life all-american, she imagines herself next to you in every one. she then wonders if she's going crazy.

(she knows where to look for you but knows not to bother, knows you won't be there. all that's left are memories and dreams, rattlesnakes in the grass.)

you're impossible to live through and she imagines other existences while touching herself furiously under the covers on near-hot summer nights. a mata hari solicited by the gestapo on a deutscheland street corner, black beret impeccably set, red lips pursed around an ivory cigarette holder. an annonymous ex-pat in a new age, in glamorous demand for all of tomorrow's parties. a nihilist screaming revolution from a brownstone window, birds tangled in her hair. a space monkey on a death trip to the stars.

she never, ever calls this love. what you've awakened is stronger than romance. desire is a funny thing, turning promise into a fool for you.

(this doesn't have to make sense. it's still true.)

she doesn't want to be her. doesn't want her precious white picket fence, her insecurities, the family dog your marital bed your god your sobriety your complacency your microwave oven. she wants to be your wrong choice. the song you replay because it reminds you of her face, the way she smiles when you look at her. alice's looking glass. your craving. she wants you to fuck her until it breaks both of you. she wants to put the passion back into your eyes. she wants you to want her so badly it shakes your bones.

she wants to be the reason you go to hell.

(and when she comes against her hand she imagines it is you pleasuring her. she imagines you into every moment. she can't remember, really, what things were like before you occupied her so completely.)

she will never tell you any of this. which is all right. there is plenty you leave unsaid. you both communicate through words others have written, second parties, playing telephone, sometimes raising up enough courage to confess what the other already knows, only to deny it as quickly as it is spoken. she muses putting a pair of her underwear or something equally inappropriate in your mailbox for the mailman to find. proof that she has been here. she has made a mark. this exists.

this exists.

(when she turns over and faces the night it can never be silent.)

sometimes still, you call. you write. she presses until you step back, waiting until you think she cares less. and she never, ever cares less.

you ponder. you desire. you confuse. the length of the rope is always changing.

she knows, she knows she shouldn't follow you anymore. can't. can't keep waiting for you to finally make up your mind. but she will. she'll keep breathing you in until the string that ties her to you finally breaks and it is simply...over.

(but tonight, oh, tonight is not the time for endings. in the here and now, she is still just a strange little girl, consumed, a fool, still caught up playing the game of you.)