It was the fold of the night, the time that things happen. The thoughts jangled across her brain: burning torch notes. She woke up. She had been dreaming of someone sweeping out his empty eye socket with a brush made of his own hair on a handle made of the bone of his index finger.
She knew this was not true, for she had his hair. She had a necklace made of his hair. She had earrings made of his hair that she wore in the holes he had spiked through her ears. She had a brooch made from jet and embellished by his hair. He had been the loved one, so that had been the only thing to do. It had been agreed. It had been in accordance with tradition.
She attempted to sweep herself out of the bed. She caught her foot in a twisted hinge of the sheet and lurched downwards. Her head caressed the wood of the floor. A glancing blow. She extricated herself, stood, lit a candle, and stared at the mirror with its frame of his black hair impregnated into a setting made of more jet, scavenged from the beach as usual.
She stopped looking at the frame of the mirror and looked at her reflection. There was a smear of dirtied blood across her forehead. She swept it off with her index finger and licked it. No salt to its taste. She had sweated it all away again.
Her cramped limbs limped across to the window and she drew aside the curtains. The moon was still there, in its small black oasis between the dominance of the clouds. She stuck her tongue out at it, and could feel the salt returning to her taste buds. She closed the curtains.
She looked down. The dream-sweat had smudged her nightdress with black streaks again.
She looked at his picture, in a frame of the same mixture of his hair and pillaged jet. The lines of the drawing of his face had been rearranged into the lines of his poem once more. She knew what they said, but she read them again.
I went when the season was closing
When autumn tools were put away
I went when the days were tightening,
Mean as miser's purse-strings
I knew it was time for me to leave:
The messenger was knocking
I knew it was time to leave
The messenger was knocking
On the door inside the porch
She closed her eyes, and recited the last few lines aloud:
But now every night has become a season
Every night my time for return
So now every night I come knocking
I come knocking but you do not wake
Your world of sleep has sewn you in
With stitches made of hairs
Your world of sleep has weighed you down
With hard dreams made of black stone
I love you for your distance
I love you in your tight sleep
Please wait for me to come again
As I will always wait for you.
She opened her eyes, and looked up again. The lines of the poem had rearranged themselves back into the lines of his face. The lines of his eyes were smiling. She brushed a few grains of salt from the lines of his mouth, put them on her tongue, extinguished the candle, and went back to her bed. She did not limp. She pulled the blankets over her. She slept.