Who knew fidelity’s even stance could be mitigated by circumstance? That a subtle smile, perchance, exchanged between you at her advance would wind up in a swift romance that flourished in that small expanse between us and her winsome glance.
Who knew that you would go freelance when love became our ritual dance? And that I, still in loving’s trance, would only learn it later, by chance. Reading your words, caught twice askance. First by your death, then grief enhanced as I suffered loss anew with this further death of you.
Bleach all the colors from the flowers. Cancel out the sun. Stay the music. Still the dance. Tell laughter it is done. She will not walk this way again so all must cease to walk. Her conversation’s over. The whole world must not talk. Earth upon its axis should still its constant motion. The cook must quiet his cooking pots, the chemist trash his potion. The universe must end itself now that my true love’s dead, and I lay myself beside her on our wedding bed.
On Sunday morning under orange bougainvillea, Your picture spills from an old album. You were on a verandah under purple bougainvillea, drinking the hot noon from your coffee cup as I drank passion fruit and watched Lake Tana birth the Nile.
Later, kneeling by the river, I made my hand into a cup, but you called out that slow death swam the blood of those who touched the river, while behind you on harsh branches, black birds barked stark music.
Now, on Sunday morning under orange bougainvillea, half a world and half a life away, I restore you to your proper place, remembering how, when they laid you down to dream beneath the purple bougainvillea, it was passionfruit’s sweet poison that flavored my life.