The Whisper Over My Shoulder

I look for you in the white feather that
floats from nowhere, the light footfalls
that pause when I pause, the whisper
over my shoulder while I write; I read
your message in the flash across the
night sky and breathe your orange
blossom fragrance when the nearest
orange blossoms are miles away

I feel you without thinking, a touch
upon my shoulder, a sigh upon my lips,
a brush across my cheek; I wake to
find my hand lifting to take yours; I
hear your voice in the song of Gaudi’s
city, a boisterous hum like that of my
heart when you whispered in my ear
of the beautiful things to come

You hover in shadow, your face both
seen and unseen, your eyes expressing
a secret you never shared with anyone
but me, your secret safe since secrets
told are lost like silver dollars cashed
for trinkets; the soft tap-tap-tap of my
pencil compels me to listen for you in
the silence between taps

The distance shortens between us, time’s
bell tolls with increased emphasis as
summer’s exuberance gives way to
autumn’s introspection and preparation,
before winter’s cold, gray isolation
heightens the desperation to heed the
bell’s call and follow the feather’s fall
and bridge the gulf between us

To cross the frail, narrow-planked bridge
is to find you but the toll is more than
I can bear and I withdraw my foot before
walking the plank; thought may lead
to deed but silence of that sort pushes
you deeper into shadow until even your
face is swallowed by the black hole that
eats both living and dead

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