Another Barbara

Another Barbara

Walking in the kitchen, the terrace doors are locked against the sun,
against the gypsies
The bowls of dried fruit, the cranberries, the candied ginger,
the apricots and raw cashews
arose suddenly
a din in their bowls

I distracted, then focused , looked around
It seemed a greeting, trumpet to attention

Then a slight , girlish presence, and I apologized wordlessly,
because while I had considered her
I had never really thought of her

A giddiness rose in the air between her and I
.just momentary,
the crack between there and here,
though dense with information

It is definite
even I a stranger
Late to the party by decades
You will never find Barbara again.

You come to my bed
childlike and open in the morning
I am shrouded in aloneness from the night before
when you like the Prince in
East of The Sun and West of The Moon,
who at night turned into a wolf or bear,
retreated to your room,
wordless and heavy, to be alone.

I cannot send you away when you come to me
The woman in me must receive you ,
must comfort you
must give you what you silently require

Eventually when you have had enough,
the toe dip into the waters of intimacy
You leave
You do not want to go further and I say nothing.

Sometimes you kiss my mouth hello or goodbye and I let you
Just as I see you kiss the mouths of everyone you know
I do not receive your kiss indifferently
Yet to turn you away would hurt you and I know that

You say “This is hard for me” and “You don’t know how hard this is for me”
Because I am sensitive this takes a toll on me
I am open , permeable to you .
I cannot close to you .
That is the way it is.

When you say again
“I met her four times in the same day”
It bursts out of me
I say it laughing but I mean it deadly serious

“Yes, Yes I say I know! Four times in the same day!’
But what I don’t say is:
Between your children and your dead wife
there is no room
For anyone else.

This is what the wraith said to me in silence
“Don’t give up on him”
And then
“I don’t like being used as an excuse”

I told you
expecting to be scoffed at
instead all you said was:
“Barbara can be meddlesome”

What ever lies between us is a leap
I don’t know if I want to make it either

My role as the submissive female
is only fun in sex
But there is no sex,
There is only submission
Sometimes I rail
What you call hostile
Is the storm you set off in me
from those rocky waters
Me failing to communicate across the gulf

You call me ( to you) from the other room
after telling me that I am brutal, unkind and hostile
I am head down, hurting and mute
unable to express what is so complex
And includes among other things
A dead woman 20 years younger than I
Who bore you two children.

You call and I come, grudgingly, but I come
bloated with tears that don’t , can’t fall.
(mad with tears)
You anoint me with 15 essentail oils
(or more)
I can only manage a weak
‘You annoint people you think treat you with hostility?”
My attempt to show you that you are wrong about me, my motivation.

You kiss me
And I am hungry for that kiss
You are holding back
or have no interest
or little interest
I can’t tell
And while it feels sad
I take what joy I find there
Later I say
“I liked kissing you “
And you reply
“It wasn’t much of a kiss.”

Take this poem to your therapist
It could save you a lot of money
Maybe you do not know
that there are different kinds of hostility,
different kinds of brutality
Maybe you are unaware of yours towards me.

I am sorry I make you want to be more open
or make to want to change
you tell me this
Make you want to open closed doors in your heart.

The tears stand in my eyes
I know that I have created this painful relationship
that promises joy and fun and completion
but delivers only resentment
and drips and drabs of sweetness
I know what my therapist would say:
“Why do you allow this?
These are his problems”

When you say
“This is hard for me”
That is not love
Love is easy
It is easy to love.