Lives in Colorado. She is the editor
of <<Lily>> a monthly online journal which debuted in December, 2003.


Fading Away

By now, she has figured his routine; seen
it a thousand times: how he rises
on those days, looks out the window
with eyes that can cover miles in a single
glance. It is as sure as the blood in his veins
that by now, he is fading

away. He is the ship that leaves
a safe harbor before dawn, the captain
searching the fog as though finding
a sea of light from a single bedroom window,
the spread of her hair on some satin pillow
slipping into the distance

and when the fog lifts, he is going down
a cold and narrow chute, into the tomb
of the uranium mine. He is breathing
that yellow cake, marking his days as fleeting
things that have fallen on hands too cold, too
calloused to recognize their weight.

By noon, he has surfaced again in Phoenix
form, he is digging graves in Serbia or traversing
an Antarctic hillside and it matters not - shovel or pole -
he simply needs something to break the walls of ice
and flesh so he can remember to breathe, to feel
and then he will catch

the six o'clock train to somewhere, watch the sun
go down in a blur. He will walk in the shadows
of a city street, alone but for the music of some wayward
player, the steam that rises from the horn, the asphalt,
the unfamiliar buildings with their non-particular lights
reflecting like puddles of memory, and he

will follow them one by one until he finds his way
home. He will take the steps in two's, her heart
will skip a beat as he finally reaches that room
and when he falls into her arms, she will call
his name and never mention how afraid
she is when he goes like this and leaves her

Copyright © 2004 Susan Culver