What is going through the mind of the woman in gloves? What is she thinking about the man she loved, the man who abandoned her?
THE WOMAN IN GLOVES
I have not blinked an eye
since his train left Paris!
Outside the compartment window
this moment finds him, I'm sure,
the white stone farm houses
and the rows of trees rushing
backwards in pale-green blurs
as if pulled back by time's cruel hand
or by the hand of a sulking child
who takes his toys away and goes home.
The simile does him justice.
Still another simile comes to mind:
Jacques the spoiled child;
Jacques the unforgettable melody
nagging at my memory.
But then it pains me to admit
among the playthings he's taken with him
are velvet-soft pieces of my heart,
summer sighs, my promises,
the gifts I gave him on love afternoons,
all those dreams.
In the garden now it is raining
as though what is left of me
cries out like a poetess imploring
the elements to mourn with her.
Or perhaps the pelting rain is not a weeping
but a beating down, a thrashing of
another child--the one deep inside me
who slashes back with darkest crayons
all that only a day ago was a work of heart,
now an amulet devoid of powers.
She cuts away at life beyond this garden,
slashes the beating pulse of our villages
that fade from Jacques's speeding train,
that fade like the memory of Jacques's
heartbeat beneath his shirt.
Did I mention today was to be our wedding?
Here in this beautiful garden?
He had said a morning ago,
"Wear your dancing dress! And, yes,
your favorite hat with the white dove
feathers. Of course, you must wear those
gloves, Madeleine. They make you look
so much like a lady of royalty!"
But the hour on the giant railway clock
came in its rightful time,
then ticked and tocked away
until I finally knew
he would never come for me.
"Jacques is gone,"
spoke my smallest voice
in the din of the railway crowd.
I have not batted an eye despite the tears.
My soul is quiet, an empty place.
I think to myself:
Jacques will not be here to see
the turning of the leaves.
At the pond he will never make jokes again
about how our faces ripple grotesquely
in the reflection of the water.
Paris is a beast that will devour him.
Here there is nothing left to mirror now.
The above poem first appeared in my book Impressions: 13 French-Painting Poems (Saddle Brook, NJ: New Worlds Unlimited), 18-21.
Salvatore Buttaci’s two collections of flash fiction 200 Shorts
and Flashing My Shorts
are both published by All Things That Matter Press and are available in book and Kindle editions at http://www.kindlegraph.com/authors/sambpoet
His new book If Roosters Don’t Crow, It Is Still Morning: Haiku and Other Poems
Buttaci lives in West Virginia with Sharon, the love of his life.