The half-hour shower frees me
from the grease of moonlight work
from the hours wasted with her.
I’d drown my aches beneath this rain
all day, but I have bills to pay
and it’s already past midnight.
Out of the shower into the steam
chilled with the breeze
whispered through the window.
The fog conceals nothing;
every towel in the hamper is mine
and her toothbrush is still dry.
She’s already in bed, an arm
around my phantom shape
a smile sculpted on her face
like ones I had when I embraced
the phantom her in distant dreams
and nostalgic memories.
She isn’t as pretty without all
the makeup and imagination.
Her eyes are no emeralds;
her hair is no crown.
Her chin is too pointy;
her lips are a clown’s.
Even her mountains lose luster
once scaled. Not as soft or serene.
She once played my princess
she once played my angel
she once played my queen
in all my poetry, but I haven’t written
a word since she left him for me–
my punishment for playing the thief.
Dull eyes open, catch my stare.
“Whatcha doing?” she asks.
“Just admiring your beauty,” I reply.
She moves forward; I tense,
suppress a gag as we kiss–I’ll never
enjoy to the taste of her lips–
then we shut our eyes. I rest
in peace stuck beside the girl I loved.