after Lautrec's Alone

By Josh Gaines

A hand moved
a wave along the inside of a thigh. 
Through a once-white slip
hand faded, folded between legs
knees rose slight, and back arched
and I think her mouth opened. I imagined
a sound, small
as dust on cheeks beneath eyes 
dampened a darker copper.
She rolled to her side
clenched the hand in legs
her pillow-spilled hair an uncertain hue. 

I became a clock face, 
watched as seconds
past disappointment or desire or 
motion of instants,
counting and recounting
time like it was 
time that mattered
and not how she was spent.

I became her secrets,
her thoughts flickered memory
behind eyelids lit in green,
through her fingers' damp.
The alarm seemed to echo from my ribs.

When I woke to a room, empty
but for the pale blue-shadows,
I imagined we were still in dirty Paris
when there were no time lines to settle
where we still had the time and a whispering room
to tell these dreams:
where I could say with some certainty,
her neck was soft
and her hair, was red. 


Josh Gaines is a former Air Force Captain and a graduate of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago with an MFA in writing. He is the author of two books containing his poetry and flash fiction, Cigarette Sonatas and Little Bones through Thoughtcrime Press, and in select online and print publications. 

© 2015