Eternity is God’s oblivion, you said,
a faint smile crossing your lips.
That’s why we are left with history,
not to forget what we cannot be.
You were taping your grandmother’s bracelet,
a gold arabesque snake, onto your abdomen,
and I could see four or five hairs
curling upward, as if trying to explore
the air above the waistband of your panties,
two silver rings you’d already parted with
lying like eyeballs on the bare kitchen table.
Futile words and useless acts, I thought,
we needed to assuage the fear. Not
of dying but living the absence of living
like a frog I once saw on television
that suspends its being through the winter.
The following morning you left the city,
your face behind a fogged bus window
a featureless apparition, forcing me
to feel my chapped lips and blow you a kiss.
Two days later I managed to climb
into the attic of an abandoned building
and peer stupidly through my binoculars
at the checkpoint, praying that I see
your rings on the guard’s fingers,
for that would have meant you were safe,
somewhere beyond our crazed reasoning.
A figure that leaned in perfect harmony
with his AK-47 against a barrel
smoked a cigarette, his derisive stare
telling me he somehow sensed I was there,
then stretched his arms, and I saw only
two blackleathered fists up in the air.