by Susan Richardson
She is arriving at her age with graceful
brushstrokes that follow the curve of
mended wings and resilient backbone.
The years that wore her down are diminished
by a new love that soothes her aches
with the fragrance of safety.
She peels away layers of a cloak,
stitched from threads of self-preservation
to hide the vibrancy of abandon.
Diving into the center of her quickening pulse,
she glories in the textures of feeling alive again.
Paint and ink saturate her fingertips,
offering up images on parchment and flesh,
a spark of rapture alight on storied skin.
Sharpening the robust tones of her voice,
she reclaims the fabric of her words and opens
her eyes to delight in the awakening
contours of the landscape.
She blunders toward me, wearing
her topiary face and a trench coat she stole
from the coat check of an upscale bar.
Searching for Irises and Haystacks,
she slurs her opinion of Impressionism
against echoing marble, her voice
rising with a cadence commanded by tequila.
She stumbles, biting into red parchment,
grunts and crashes into travertine walls.
She can’t feel through the bitterness and the booze.
Her imprint stains my day.
Where Sound Disappears
She has the graceful hands of a dancer
and fingers that clutch her fountain pen
as if it were a weapon, razor sharp
and lethal to the weak minded.
Veiled beneath the heavy cloth of madness,
her language scalds my lips with
maniacal rhythm, sensibilities smoldering
in the wake of her incendiary heartbeat.
She offers me the gift of her wounds and
moves into a world where sound disappears.
She believes she made me up along the way.
The dangerous nectar of brandy dulls
the gaps in my vision, turning
me into something whole and beautiful.
I swim in the smooth burn of baptismal waters.
Fingers, thick from intoxication, glide
across sultry water, linger in anticipation.
I melt into amber and sweltering tiles,
caught beneath the breath of a liquid center.
Mad women and
all cross their legs.
They long to be touched
in secret places,
kissed hard on the
mouth and adored.
One glance from a pair
of scorching eyes will have
your bones shaking,
inviting the rough
crack of leather.
Obediently, you will
drop to the concrete floor
and lick salt from
behind hot knees.
They will borrow your soul
for just a little while,
and return it intact.
Susan Richardson is living, writing and going blind in Los Angeles. She shares a home with an Irishman, 2 pugs and 2 cats. She was diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa in 2002, and in addition to poetry, she writes a blog called Stories from the Edge of Blindness. Her work has been published in Stepping Stones Magazine, Wildflower Muse, The Furious Gazelle, The Hungry Chimera, Sheila-Na-Gig, Chantarelle’s Notebook, Foxglove Journal, Literary Juice, Sick Lit Magazine, Amaryllis, The Anapest Journal, and Eunoia Review, with pieces forthcoming in Ink Sweat & Tears. She was also awarded the Sheila-Na-Gig 2017 Winter Poetry Prize and was featured in the Literary Juice 2018 Q&A Series.